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UNFULFILLED EXPECTATION?

Updated on June 14, 2009

 

“When they persecute you in one town, escape to another.

For I assure you:  You will not have covered the towns of

Israel before the Son of Man comes”.

 

 

This saying, found in Matthew’s Gospel only, comes at the end of Jesus’ commission to the twelve apostles when he sent them out two by two.

 

The commission to the Twelve, as given in Matthew 10:5-23, has two parts, each with its own perspective.  The first part (Matt. 10:5-18) deals with immediate situation, within the context of Jesus’ own Galilean ministry.  The second part (Matt. 10:19-23) envisions a later period, when the apostles will be engaged in a wider ministry. 

 

Think of the warning:

 

“Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.  On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles”. (Matt. 10:17, 18).

 

This reference to the Gentiles presents a contrast with the reference to them in Matthew 10:5, where they are excluded from the scope of the earlier preaching tour.  The warnings just quoted have a close parallel in Mark 13:9-10, where the situation is that leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  And in both places the warning is followed by an assurance that, when the disciples are put on trial and required to bear witness to their faith, the Holy Spirit will put the right words into their mouths.

It is this second part of the commission in Matthew 10 that is rounded off with the difficult saying You will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes”.

 

What, then, does the saying mean in this context?  It means, simply, that the evangelization of Israel will not be completed before the end of the present age, which comes with the advent of the Son of Man.  The parallel passage in Mark has a similar statement, which, however, takes more explicit account of Gentile as well as Jewish evangelization:  before the end time, “the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (Mark 13:10).

 

Paul, from his own perspective, expresses much the same hope when he foresees the salvation of “all Israel”, the sequel to the ingathering of the full sum of Gentile believers, being consummated at the time when “the deliverer will come from Zion”

 (Rom. 11:25-27).

 

The wording of Matthew 10:23 is earlier in its reference than that of the other passages just mentioned:  here witness-bearing to the Gentiles receives a brief mention, but all the emphasis lies on the mission to the Jews.       

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    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you jesusmyjoy for visiting and for your gracious comment.

      God Bless

    • jesusmyjoy profile image

      Betty Bolden 

      9 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      wonderful hub, thank you

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you Abrushing1968, for that gracious comment. I pray the Lord continue to bless you and the work He has assigned you.

      God Bless You

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      9 years ago from USA- Florida

      Wehzo: I expect he will return any moment. In the mean time You are reminder to me that we still have work to do.

      I look forward to the day that my faith becomes tangible. The day that I may embrace my Lord and God in my arms. But, until then, I will continue to spread the Gospel as best I can. Understanding that this was my Lord's wishes.

      This Hub points to one important aspect of our Christian purpose. To declare His Word. To make Jesus Known in all the earth. Like John the Baptist we are to be voices, pointing all to Christ, in the hope that they too will be saved.

      God Bless you Wehzo for your diligence in declaring the Words of our Lord. You are a light in the darkness. Attracting those weary travelers to a place of rest for their weary souls.

      In Christ

      ABR

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you LPinky, I appreciate your gracious comment.

      God Bless

    • LPinky profile image

      LPinky 

      9 years ago

      Great hub Wehzo!

      God Bless

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you Born Again 05, I appreciate your support and comments.

      God Bless

    • Born Again 05 profile image

      Born Again 05 

      9 years ago from Honesdale

      Enjoyed this hub Wehzo! Looking forward to reading some more.

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you no body, and blessings to you as always.

      God Bless

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      9 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Love your writing as always very edifying. Many blessings brother.

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Hi coffeesnob, thank you for your continued support and contributions to these hubs.

      God Bless You

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 

      9 years ago

      Whezon, Great Hub thanks for sharing

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      9 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you Carrie, for your continued support and encouraging words.

      God Bless

    • Carrie Bradshaw profile image

      Carrie Bradshaw 

      9 years ago from Manhattan

      Good word, as consistent with you, Whezo! Thank you for this great hub!

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