Chapter 4: The Exercise of Sovereignty

Kenneth L Gentry

Narrated By: Joseph Spurgeon
Book: The Greatness of the Great Commission
Topics: , ,


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Chapter Text

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19a).

As I noted in Chapter Three, the Great Commission is a kingly commission exhibiting the sovereignty of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

In this chapter we will look more closely at the implications of the sovereign, kingly authority-grant received by Christ, which is the legal basis of the Great Commission. As we do so, we will discover the mediation of the authority of that covenantal sovereignty.

Covenantal hierarchy is clearly set forth in Matthew 28:18-19a (cited above). Here we may trace the hierarchical flow of authority:

(1) Authority is original in and derivative from the Triune God (“all authority has been given,” obviously by God).

(2) Mediatorial authority is granted as a redemptive reward to the God-Man, Jesus Christ (“to Men).

(3) Christ commissions Christians administratively to promote obedience to that authority (“Go therefore”).[1]

4) Self-conscious submission to that authority is to spread to all the

world (“make disciples of all the nations”).

This is why the heralds of Christ’s kingdom are called “ambassadors.”[2]

In the Great Commission the claim of Christ to have received from God “all authority in heaven and on earth” formalizes judicially what was already true metaphysically: God’s rulership over all.[3] That is, Christ in His eternal Person as God the Son always possesses authority in Himself; it is intrinsic to His very divine being.[4] But in terms of the economy of redemption (the outworking of salvation), the Second Person of the Trinity humbled Himself from His exalted position and made Himself of “no reputation” (Phil. 2:7) by taking on a human body and soul.[5] He did this in order to secure redemption for His people, by living under the Law and suffering the judicial consequences of its breach by them.[6] The judicial declaration of the acceptance of His redemptive labor by the Father was at the resurrection, which historical event led to His being granted “all authority” as a conquering King.

But what is entailed in this grant of “all authority in heaven and on earth”? And what is to be the outreach program of the Church based on this grant?

The Source of Authority

The One who issues this Great Commission to His people is He who possesses “all authority in heaven and in earth.” This same terminology is applied to God the Father Himself: He is “the Lord of heaven and earth” (Matt. 11:25). God is Lord and Governor of all.[7] Strong Pharaoh was raised up so that he might be destroyed, in order to bring glory to God (Exo. 9:16). The mighty Assyrian Empire was but a rod of anger in His hand.[8] The powerful Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, was His “servant.”[9] The conquering Persian king, Cyrus, was used by God as a “Shepherd” and as “His anointed” for God’s holy purpose.[10] The Medes were His own weapon.[11] Indeed, He is the King of all the earth.[12]

God’s Lordship is unbounded in Scripture. And Christ lays claim to that boundless authority in the Great Commission. Hence, the divine nature of the Commission. It is not an authority bestowed ecclesiastically, traditionally, philosophically, or politically, but a divinely derived one. The Great Commission comes to us with a very bold statement: “Thus saith the Lord.”

The resurrection was the first step in Christ’s exaltation; the ascension His concluding step.[13] In fact, “The ascension is essentially implied in the resurrection. Both events are combined in the one fact of Christ’s exaltation. The resurrection is the root and the beginning of the ascension; the ascension is the blossom and crown of the resurrection… The resurrection marks the entrance into the heavenly state; the ascension, into the heavenly sphere.”[14]

Within days of the resurrection, Christ completed His two-phased exaltation, when He ascended into heaven in fulfillment of Daniel 7:13, 14. This passage is quite important in this regard, though often misconstrued. According to a number of scholars from various schools of thought, the Daniel 7 passage forms the prophetic backdrop of the Great Commission, as is evident at least as early as Hippolytus (A.D. 170-236)[15] Daniel 7:13-14 reads:

I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

And to Him was given dominion

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

Clearly this “coming” was His ascension to heaven: “He came up to the Ancient of Days.” Just as clearly it was His enthronement as king: “to Him was given dominion.” Consequently, it breathes the air of universal authority: “that all the peoples . . . might serve Him.” Thus, it is related to the Great Commission, for the Son of Man there is given “all authority in heaven and on earth.”

The Mediation of Authority

Regarding the actual implementation of the work set before the Church by our Lord, Puritan commentator Matthew Poole long ago wrote of the important function of the “go therefore” clause in the Commission: “…having declared his power, he delegates it.”[16] In fact, “so far as earth is concerned, the dominion is only a matter of right or theory, a problem to be worked out. Hence what follows.”[17] Thus, the command may be paraphrased: “All power has been given to me on earth, go ye therefore, and make the power a reality.”[18]

The connective “therefore,” standing between the declaration of “all authority” and the exhortations to “go” and “make disciples,” is most appropriate and important here. It has “a peculiar force in the present connection; it draws a conclusion from the gift of all authority bestowed on Jesus. It puts all his power and his authority behind the command to evangelize the world. This shows that what otherwise would be absolutely impossible now becomes gloriously possible, yea, an assured reality.”[19] The task set before this small band of men[20] would have been overwhelming were it not undergirded with the universal authority claimed by Christ. Hence, the significance of the “therefore” connecting verse 18 with verse 19.

An exact literal translation of the Greek of verse 19a reads: “Going, therefore, disciple ye all the nations.”[21] The “going” is a translation of a participle in the Greek. Although they express action, participles are not true verbs, but rather verbal adjectives. On a purely grammatical basis, then, participles are dependent upon main verbs for their full significance. Thus, they cannot stand alone (hence a writer’s dreaded fear of the “dangling participle”!).

Some have argued from the grammar here that since the word translated “go” (literally, “going”) is a participle, it may not properly be viewed as a command to the disciples, in that participles do not have mood.[22] They point out that if it were intended to express a command to go, it should have been expressed by a verb in the imperative mood. The position drawn from this grammatical argument is that Christ’s command actually should be understood as: “Wherever you happen to be, make disciples.”

Of course it is true that “wherever” we “happen to be” it is incumbent upon us to make disciples. Nevertheless, grammatically a participle can carry the force of the main verb’s action. This is because the participle is so closely tied to the main verb that it partakes in sense the verb’s force. And the participle here contextually does have the imperative force of the main verb, despite its not having the imperative form.[23]

Furthermore, that this is actually a command to “go” may be seen in the history of the early church contained in Acts. There we witness the “going” of the disciples into the world. In addition, the related commissions of Christ, which urge the progression of the gospel from Jerusalem outward to all the world, evidence the outward reaching, militant expansion of Christ’s concern, and suggest that understanding for Matthew 28:19.[24]

The point, when all is said and done, is that Christ expected His New Covenant people to go, that is, to be militant in their promotion of the true faith. Under the Old Covenant, Israel as a nation was confined to a land with well-defined parameters.[25] She was to exercise her influence among the nations from within that land and by example as she remained “in the midst of the land” (Deut. 4:5_8).[26] Never is she authorized by God to conquer nations outside of her borders for purposes of annexation.[27] In fact, rather than her going to the nations, the nations were to come to her.[28]

Now, with the transformation of the Church into her New Covenant phase[29] and her development from immaturity to maturity (Gal. 3:23-26), militancy characterizes her energies. She is to go forth into all the world sowing seed, unshackled by geographic considerations.[30] For a very important purpose the Church is “in the world” (John 17:15): to go forth with kingly authority to confront the nations with the demands of God. Thus, the Commission makes reference to His authority over “the earth” (v. I8b) and our obligation to enforce that authority over “the nations” (v. 19a).

The Great Commission sends down from above an obligation upon God’s people. It can no more be reduced to “The Good Idea” than the Ten Commandments can be deemed the “Ten Suggestions.” It is not an option for the people of God. It is an obligatory task laid upon those who are not only created in the image of God (as all men are[31]), but who are ethically renewed in that image by the saving mercies of Christ.[32] It is an obligation that is laid upon His people who dwell on the earth here and now, for “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”[33]

Through hierarchical covenantal arrangement, we are under obligation to inform the people of the world of the ownership of all things by the Lord God and of the authority of His Son over all. We are to proclaim that redemption is necessary for acceptance by God and salvation from eternal judgment. We are to instruct men of their consequent responsibility to serve God in all of life that results from such glorious redemption.

The Extension of Authority

According to its very words, the mission of the Commission is what truly may be called great. Christ commands: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” But what does this mean? The significance of the word “nations” is of serious consequence. Its apprehension has become a point of dispute in the recent debate among evangelicals.[34]

Because of what we noted above, we must see the hierarchical obligation of the Great Commission in its command to “Go… make disciples of all nations.” This command is remarkable here because of its contrast to Christ’s earlier command, “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles.”[35] The gospel of salvation was initially “to the Jew first,”[36] so it was necessary that it begin its work and influence in Jerusalem.[37]

But Matthew’s record of the appearance of the non-Jewish Magi from the East (Matt. 2:1-2), His teaching regarding the coming into the kingdom of people from the east and the west (Matt. 8:11), the kingdom parables involving the world (Matt. 13), and so forth, make it clear that Christ’s ministry always expected the eventual inclusion of the non-Jewish nations. This was not some new and unexpected program shift, for even the Old Testament held forth the promise of the salvation of non-Jews.[38] In fact, the apostles frequently cited the Old Testament prophecies in defense of their reaching out to the Gentiles.[39]

But some evangelicals tend to understand the command to mean nothing more than: “in spreading the gospel, no part of the world is to be omitted.”[40] Consequently, it merely means that “the purpose of the church in this present age [is] that of a witness.”[41] The Great Commission is said to involve the salvation of “individuals” from among the nations, because “making a disciple in the Biblical sense is an individual thing.”[42]

Who among us would disagree with these statements – as far as they go? Surely Christ’s words, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” cannot mean less than that the gospel is a universal gospel to be proclaimed to people in all nations. And just as surely is it held by all evangelicals that the Great Commission demands the salvation of individual sinners from their own sins.

But is this all that it entails? Does the Great Commission merely seek the proclamation of the gospel to in all nations? That is, does it only seek the salvation of scattered individuals from throughout the world? Or is there more here than we may have supposed?

Christ’s command is to make disciples of all the “nations.” The Greek word translated “nations” here is ethne (the plural of ethnos), which is an interesting word that serves a vital function in the Great Commission. Let us consider the word meaning itself, then note how it is more appropriate for the Great Commission than any other similar words might have been.


The Meaning of Ethnos

  1. Its Etymological Derivation. The word ethnos was common in the Greek language from ancient times. It is widely agreed among etymologists that it was derived from another Greek word, ethos, which means “‘mass’ or ‘host’ or ‘multitude’ bound by the same manners, customs and other distinctive features”[43] and was ultimately derived from the Sanskrit svadha, which means “own state, habit.”[44] Therefore, ethos contemplates “a body of people living according to one custom and rule.”[45] In fact, ethos itself is found in the New Testament and means “habit, custom” (Luke 22:39; Acts 25:16).

Returning to the specific word found in the Great Commission, Greek lexicographer Joseph Thayer lists five nuances of the term ethnos: (1) A “multitude . . . associated or living together.” (2) “A multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus.” (3) “Race, nation.” (4) “Foreign nations not worshipping the true God; pagans, Gentiles.” (5) “Gentile Christians.”[46] Consequently, the word ethnos speaks not so much of stray individuals as such, but of collected masses of individuals united together by a common bond, as in a culture, society, or nation.

  1. Its New Testament Usage. The root idea of the word ethnos is easily discernible in Acts 17:26: “And He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.” In addition, the same is true of Revelation 7:9, where a multitude of saints is gathered “from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” As a matter or fact, the national-cultural-collective significance of the word is pointed to by the use of ethnos in a number of places outside of Matthew in the New Testament.[47] The Jews as a distinct culture and national entity are even called an ethnos in the New Testament in many places,[48] showing the term does not necessarily mean “gentile” in the sense of “non-Jew.”[49]

In fact, the term ethnos, when applied by Jews to others, is for the very purpose of distinguishing the national culture (including religion, tradition, manners, etc.) of non-Jewish peoples from Jewish national culture.[50] As such, it involves the collective or corporate idea of a people’s culture and is not tied merely to stray individuals. In addition, in the form found in Matthew 28:19, the phrase “all the nations” is also found in several other verses. In those verses it speaks of national units or whole cultures, as such.[51]

  1. Its Matthaen Function. Interestingly, a study of Matthew’s own employment of the term ethnos provides statistical evidence in our favor. In Matthew, nine out of fourteen appearances of the term (or 71% of its occurrences) are used in a way clearly referring to nations as such: Matthew 4:15; 10:18[52]; 12:18, 21[53]; 20:25; 21:43[54]; 24:7, 9, 14. In two other instances (or 14%), the term is probably to be understood as betokening “nation”: Matt. 6:32,[55] and 25:32.[56] The two instances (or 14%) that probably involve the generalistic conception “gentiles” or “people”[57] are Matt. 10:5 and 20:19. The remaining instance is found in the text under discussion, Matthew 28:19. In point of fact, it should be noted, virtually all major English translations render the term in the Great Commission with the English “nations,” rather than “gentiles.”[58]

Lenski clearly applies the plural ta ethne of Matthew 28: 19 to nations, when he argues for infant baptism from the passage on the basis of there being children who composed “such a large part of every nation.”[59] Lange holds the same view, when he comments on the phrase: “nations, as nations, are to be Christianized.”[60] In their Lexicon, Arndt and Gingrich provide two entries in explication of the term ethnos: (1) “nation, people” and (2) “heathen, pagans, Gentiles.” Under the first listing they place Matthew 28:19.[61]

The Significance of Ethnos

It would seem that the term ethnos, which Christ employed in the Great Commission, carries with it an important significance. He calls His followers to “make disciples of all the nations.” He does not merely say “disciple all men” (although this lesser point is true also). In that case he would have chosen the Greek word anthropos, which would allow the reference to indicate men as individual humans, rather than as collected races, cultures, societies, or nations. Neither does He call for the discipling of “all kingdoms” (basileia), as if He laid claim only to political authority. Rather, He calls for the discipling of “all the nations” (ethnos), involving men as individuals united together in all their socio-cultural labors and relations.

The discipling work of the Great Commission, then, aims at the comprehensive application of Christ’s authority over men through conversion. As the numbers of converts increase, this providentially leads to the subsuming under the authority of Christ whole institutions, cultures, societies, and governments. As Matthew Henry put it centuries ago: “Christianity should be twisted in with national constitutions,… the kingdoms of the world should become Christ’s kingdoms, and their kings the church’s nursing fathers…. [D]o your utmost to make the nations Christian nations…. Christ the Mediator is setting up a kingdom in the world, bring the nations to be his subjects.”[62]

The Goal of Authority

This understanding of the hierarchical administration of the sovereignty of the Great Commission helps us understand certain of the universalistic sounding passages that speak of redemption. Christ saves individuals, to be sure. Praise God for that glorious truth – I myself am an individual! But His plan and goal is to save masses of individuals and the cultures that arise from their labors, as well. His plan is one of comprehensive salvation. This may be noted in certain universalistic passages. Although we are prone to speak of Christ as “my personal Savior,” we too often overlook the fact He is also declared to be “the Savior of the world.” There are several passages which speak of the world-wide scope of redemption.

Cosmic Salvation

In John 1:29, John the Baptist sees Jesus and utters these words: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” In 1 John 4:14 we read: “The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” John 3:16-17 says “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him” (cp. John 12:47). 1 John 2:2 teaches that “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” In 2 Corinthians 5: 19 Paul conceives of Christ’s active labor thus: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.”

Now these passages clearly present Christ in His redemptive labors. In them we learn that: He is called the Lamb of God; He takes away sin; His purpose in coming was to save; He provides propitiation for the sinner; He is reconciling sinners to Himself.

But what does the Greek word kosmos (translated “world”) mean in these passages that speak of the scope of redemption? This noun originally had to do with a building erected from individual parts to form a whole. It came to be applied to relations between men, as in the case of ordering soldiers in armies and governments in matters of state. Eventually kosmos came to speak of the well ordered universe, and was an important term in Greek philosophy.

In the New Testament the word kosmos spoke of the sum of all created being, including both the animate and inanimate creation. Acts 17:24 speaks of God creating the “world and all that is in it.” God created an orderly creation, as is evident from Genesis 1. Hence, He created a kosmos.

The word “world” as employed in the preceding passages  regarding world salvation refer, then, to the world as the orderly system of men and things. That is, the world that God created and loves is His creation as He intended it: a world in subjection to

man who in turn is to be in subjection to God (Psa. 8).
A point frequently overlooked in the passages cited above is that those verses clearly speak of the world-system focus of His sovereign redemption. Thus, in each of the passages passing under our scrutiny, we have reference to the aim of full and free salvation for the kosmos, the world as a system. That is, Christ’s redemptive labors are designed to redeem the created order of men and things. Hence, the Great Commission command to disciple “all nations” involves not only all men as men (anthropos), but all men in their cultural connections (ethnos) (Matt. 28:19), for Christ “is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). All of society is to be subdued to the gospel of the sovereign Christ.

Consequently, as A. T Robertson marvelled regarding the Great Commission: “It is the sublimest of all spectacles to see the Risen Christ without money or army or state charging this band of five hundred men and women with world conquest and bring them to believe it possible and to undertake it with serious passion and power.”[63] Yet that is precisely what Christ did. As Chamblin put it, when speaking of the giving of such authority to Christ: “God the Father… now wills that Jesus’ existent authority (7:29; 8:9) be exercised universally.”[64]

Cultural Redemption

Salvation is designed for the “world as a system” (kosmos) involving men in their cultural relations (ethnos). Obviously, then, it must follow that its effects should be pressed in every aspect of life and culture, not just in the inner-personal realm.[65] In fact, Christ’s Commission claims just that in two very important phrases.

(1) When Christ lays claim to “all authority,” He is specifying the comprehensiveness of His authority. Christ here claims “every form of authority [and] command of all means necessary for the advancement of the kingdom of God.”[66] Or, to put it another way, He claims “unlimited authority in every area.”[67] No form of authority escapes His sovereign grant.

(2) When He adds “in heaven and on earth,” He is specifying the realm of the exercise His authority. He is claiming His authority is equally intense on earth as it is in heaven. In other words, the authority He holds in heaven over the affairs of its redeemed residents and the holy angels is held in the affairs of earth over men, as well. Christ was given “all authority in heaven. . . so that he can make use of all the resources of heaven [and] all authority upon earth . . . so that he can turn every institution and power and person on earth to account.”[68]

Truly Christ is claiming unlimited authority over every realm. He is not claiming it solely over the limited realms of the inner-personal life, or over a few select realms, such as the family, or the Church. This is made quite clear in various pregnant expressions applied to Him later in the New Testament. Philippians 2:9-11 contains a strong statement in this regard:

This corresponds well with what is written in Ephesians 1:20-22:

Therefore God highly exalted[69] Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Emphasis added)

This corresponds well with what is written in Ephesians 1:20-22:

He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church. (Emphasis added)

These passages are supplemented by several other verses, as well as the Revelation statement that He is “Lord of lords and King of kings.”

These passages are supplemented by several other verses,[70] as well as the Revelation statement that He is “Lord of lords and King of kings.”[71]

Regarding the civil-political area of man’s culture, which is perhaps the stickiest aspect of the question, this explains why kings are obligated to rule by Him,[72] under Him,[73] and as His “ministers” to promote His Law,[74] according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.[75] The earthly political authority to which Satan arrogantly laid claim, by which he oppressed the nations, and which he offered to Christ[76] was righteously won by Christ’s glorious redemptive labor.

His “all authority” over “all the nations” demands we preach His crown rights over all men and all their institutions, cultures, societies, and nations. The saving of multitudes of individuals must eventually lead to cultural Christianization under Christ’s rule and to His glory by His providence, in conformity with God’s creational purpose. This world order was designed to have man set over it, to the glory of God.[77] This is why at the very beginning of human history unfallen man was a cultural creature.[78]

The salvation wrought by the implementation of the Great Commission does not merely involve a static entry into the Lamb’s Book of Life; it involves also a life-transforming change within the center of man’s being.[79] That is, it is not just something entered in the record book of heaven in order to change man’s status (legal justification based on the finished work of Christ).[80] Certainly it involves that, but there is more. It also involves something effected on earth in man to change his character (spiritual sanctification generated by the continuing work of the Holy Spirit).[81]

Christ’s saving work sovereignly overwhelms man and effects in him a “new birth,”[82] thereby making the believer a “new creature”[83] or a “new man,”[84] creating in him a new character[85] in that he has been resurrected and made alive from spiritual death.[86] It brings him “all spiritual blessings,”[87] puts him under the power of grace,[88] insures the indwelling of the Holy Spirit[89] and of Christ,[90] which imparts the power of God within,[91] and secures the intercession of Christ in his behalf.[92]

All of this must lead to confrontation with and the altering of non-Christian culture, for Paul commands: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). Paul is not saying we are to “work for our salvation” (as if guilty sinners could merit God’s favor!), but that the salvation we possess must be “worked out” into every area of our lives. In short, we are to work out the salvation that is now ours. Consequently, we are driven by divine obligation and salvific duty to “expose the works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11) by being “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). Salvation, then, exercises a gradualistic, dynamic and transforming influence in the life of the individual convert to Christ. This is progressive sanctification. But this process is not limited to a hypothetical, exclusively personal realm of ethics. As salvation spreads to others, it also establishes a motivated, energetic kingdom of the faithful who are organized to operate as “a nation producing the fruit of’ the kingdom.[93]

Thus, in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 we read:

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

The One who claims “all authority in heaven and on earth” and who has been given “a name above every name that is named” is He who has commissioned us to destroy “every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” and to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” – not some thoughts or inner-personal thoughts only. This is to be done imperceptibly from within,[94] not by armed revolution from without,[95] as we “do business” until He comes (Luke 19:13).

There is another angle from which we may expect the culture transforming effect of redemption: the negative angle, the correction of sin. As poetically put in the great Christmas hymn “Joy to the World”:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

The salvation that Christ brings is salvation from sin. His redemption is designed to flow “far as the curse is found.” The angel who appeared to Joseph instructed him, “You shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21b).

Now, then, how far is the curse of sin found? How wide ranging is sin? The curse of sin is found everywhere throughout the world! It permeates and distorts every area of man’s life! For this reason Christ’s Commission to His Church, as recorded in Luke 24:47 (and implied in Matt. 28:19-20), reads: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the death the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Again we are confronted with salvation – here via repentance from sin – for “all the nations.”

If man is totally depraved,[96] then that depravity extends to and accounts for the pervasive corruption of all of man’s cultural activities. Instead of the “Midas Touch,” fallen man has the “Minus Touch.” The sinner’s touch reduces the quality, value, and effectiveness of everything he does, compared to what he would do were he sinless. Surely salvation from sin involves salvation from all the implications of sin, including institutional, cultural, social, and political sins. And just as surely, the Christian should authoritatively confront sinful conduct and labor toward its replacement with the righteous alternative.

Incredibly, one best-selling evangelical author has even castigated John the Baptist because of his preaching against the sin of the political authority in his realm, King Herod Antipas!

John the Baptist rebuked Herod Antipas for taking his half-brother Philip’s wife…. Could it be that John, who was imprisoned and later beheaded by Herod because of this reproof, may have needlessly cut his ministry to Israel short by aiming his remarks at the wrong target?[97]

This mistaken argument logically would lead to a rebuke of Christ Himself for calling the same Herod a “fox” (Luke 13:32)! Could it be that Jesus “needlessly cut his ministry to Israel short by aiming his remarks at the wrong target”? Surely not!


We have seen that the Great Commission directs Christians to pursue the promotion of Christ’s sovereign rule over men through salvation. Indeed, it directs our labors to redeeming not only individuals, but the whole lives of individuals, which generate their culture. Christ avoided terms that easily could have been given a lesser significance, when He commanded His followers to “disciple all nations.” And He insured that we understand the Commission properly by undergirding it with the redemptive reality of His possessing “all authority in heaven and on earth.” (I will return to this theme to emphasis the prospect of its victory in Chapter 7, where I will consider Covenantal Succession.)

Herschell Hobbs has preserved for us an insightful comment most apropos to our study: “Dr. Gaines S. Dobbins was asked, ‘But is not conversion the end of salvation?’ He replied, ‘Yes, but which end?’”[98] That is the question before us.

[1] This underscores the Christian’s covenantal status in history. See Matt. 5:5; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph. 1:3; 2:6.

[2] 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20. Some scholars suggest a slight misspelling in the text of Philemon 9 that allows the word “aged” (presbutes) to be rendered “ambassador” (presbeutes), as well. For example, J. B. Lightfoot, C. F. D. Moule, B. F. Westcott, F. J. A Hort, E. Haupt, E. Lohmeyer, W. O. E. Oesterley, and George Abbott-Smith. See: W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1957), p. 707.

[3] Despite the recent shift in evangelicalism from a judicial to a love-based approach, the judicial element in Scripture is extremely strong. For a brief discussion of this distressing paradigm shift, see: Robert Brow, “Evangelical Megashift,” Christianity Today, (February, 1990) 12-17. See also: Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 631-643.

[4] In fact, the Greek word for “authority” is exousia, which is derived etymologically from ek (“out of’) and ousia (“being”).

[5] Notice the hierarchical order in 1 Cor. 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

[6] See: Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 1:14; Rom. 1:3; 8:3; 15:8; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 3:10ff; 4:4; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:9-17; 10:5; 12:2.

[7] Amos 1:3-2:3; Oba. 1; Isa. 10:5-34.

[8] Isa. 10:5.

[9] Jer. 25:9; 27:6; 43:10. See also: Jer. 51:20.

[10] Isa. 44:28-45:13.

[11] Jer. 51 :11, 20.

[12] Psa. 29:10; 47:2; 95:3; 96:10; 97:10; 103:19; 115:3; 145:11-13; Dan. 2:47; 4:35;

Isa. 6:5; Jer. 46:18.

[13] John Peter Lange, Matthew (3rd ed.), in Commentary on the Hoi, Scriptures Critical,

Doctrinal and Homiletical, ed. and trans. by Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, rep. n.d. (1861)), 15:561-562.

[14] Lange, “Matthew,” p. 556.

[15] Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 26. Though he applies Dan. 7 to the future, i.e. the Second Advent. Matthew 28:18-20 “has been formulated quite consciously in terms of’ Daniel 7:13-14 (Lloyd Gaston, No Stone on Another: Studies in the Significance of the Fall of Jerusalem in the Synoptic Gospels (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970), p. 385. See also the following commentators from various schools of thought: D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), 8:595. Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, 4 vols., (London: 1849-1861), I:308. Hendriksen, Matthew, p. 998. R. T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament: His Application of Old Testament Passages to Himself and His Mission (London: Tyndale, 1971), pp. 142-143. W. F. Albright and C. S. Mann, Matthew, in W. F. Albright and D. N. Freedman, eds., The Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971), p. 362. B. T. D. Smith. The Gospel According to St Matthew, in A. Nairne, ed., The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (Cambridge: University Press, 1933), 40:178. Frank Stagg, Matthew-Mark, in Clifton J. Allen, ed., The Broadman Commentary (Nashville: Broadman, 1969), 8:253. R. H. Fuller, “Matthew,” in James L. Mays, ed., Harper’s Bible Commentary (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988), p. 981. W. C. Allen. Matthew, in S. R. Driver. Alfred Plummer, and A H. Briggs, eds., The International Critical Commentary (3rd ed.: Edinburgh: T and T Clark,

1912), 40:305. John A. Broadus, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, in Alvah Hovey, ed., An American Commentary (Valley Forge: Judson Press. rep. n.d. [1886]), p. 592.

[16] Matthew Pool [sic], Annotations Upon the Holy Bible (New York: Robert Carter, 1856), p. 146.

[17] B. Bruce, “The Synoptic Gospels” in Roger Nicole, ed., Englishman’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, rep. 1980 [n.d.]), 1:339.

[18] Ibid.

[19] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Columbus, OH: Wartburg Press, 1943), p. 1172.

[20] There is some debate as to how many are present before Christ when this Commission is given. Some commentators point to the reference to “the eleven” in verse 16. Other commentators argue that this does not preclude there being additional people present, but only specifies that all the remaining original disciples in particular were present. It is often asserted that the appearance of Christ to the 500 brethren (1 Cor. 15:6) must have been at this time because of (1) the difficulty of placing that appearance elsewhere and (2) the difficulty of explaining the “doubt” expressed by some present, if only the eleven were present (Matt. 28:17). For example, A. 1: Robertson, Word Picture in the New Testament, 6 vols., (Nashville: Broadman, 1930), 1:244. Nevertheless, the point remains: the number was small in comparison to the task.

[21] Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (2nd ed: Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), p. 136.

[22] Robert O. Culver, “What Is the Church’s Commission?”, Bibliotheca Sacra 125 [1968] 239-253.

[23] See: William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Matthew (New Testament Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973), p. 999; Cleon Rogers, “The Great Commission,” Bibliotheca Sacra 130 [1973] 258-267.

[24] Luke 24:47; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:8. Jerome (AD. 340-420) wrote of Jerusalem: “It would be tedious to inumerate all the prophets and holy men who have been sent forth from this place.” Jerome, Letter 46 To Marcella.

[25] Gen. 15:18; Exo. 23:31; Num. 34:3-12; Deut. 11:31; Josh. 1:4; 1 Kgs. 4:20-21. This specific land was taken from the Canaanites and given to Israel on the basis of divine sanctions of God’s Law against the horrible perversity of the Canaanites in their breaking of God’s Law (Lev. 18:24-30).

[26] See 1 Kgs. 5:7; Psa. 2:10-11; 119:45; Isa. 51:4. On Deut. 4:5-8 Ridderbos comments: “The purpose of his instruction is for Israel to keep these laws when they have entered Canaan. Observing these decrees and laws will show Israel’s wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations. The phrase ‘great nation’ reflects the respect the nations will have for Israel for this reason. Israel’s missionary task vis-a-vis the pagan world is indicated in a veiled manner: This respect for Israel implies respect for Him from whom Israel received these laws. This missionary task is later further unfolded in prophecy, especially where Israel is prophetically described as the servant of the Lord, His messenger whom He sends (Isa. 42:19) to proclaim His praise (43:21), who is called to be His witness (43:10), in whose mouth He has put His words (51:16).” J. Ridderbos, Deuteronomy (Bible Student’s Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library, 1984), p.83.

[27] In regard to this we should note: (1) Israel’s king was forbidden to “multiply horses” (Deut. 17:16), apparently due to the fact that in Israel’s rugged terrain horses would only be profitable to a king determined to expand his borders and to project military power into foreign lands. (2) God establishes in His law protections that preserve the integrity of landmarks (Deut. 19:14; 27:17; Prov. 22:28; 23:10). (3) A prophetic judgment on Ammon for attempting “to enlarge their borders” is discovered in (Amos 1:13). (4) Prophetic visions warn of God’s wrath against nations bent on imperial annexation (Dan. 2; 7). In light of all this, the law in Deut. 20:10-11 (regarding war against nations beyond Israel) seems to have in mind warfare “on a just occasion,” i.e. defensive war; see: Robert Jamieson, A R. Faussett, David Brown, 2 vols., A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments (Hartford: S. S. Scranton, n.d.), 1:134.

[28] E.g., 1 Kgs. 10; 2 Chron. 9. See the imagery involved in the Messianic prophecies which portray the world as coming to Jerusalem, Isa. 2:3; Mic. 4:2; Zech. 8:2.

[29] The New Covenant has to do with the Church: Jer. 31:31-34; Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 7:22; 8:6-13; 9:15-16; 12:24.

[30] Cf. Matt. 13:1-52; Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; 13:47.

[31] Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1,3; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7; Jas. 3:9. Although the word “image” is absent, the idea is also contained in Psalm 8 and Acts 17:28.

[32] Rom. 8:29; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24.

[33] This glorious statement is repeated time and again throughout Scripture. For example see: Exo. 9:29; 19:5; Lev. 25:23; Deut. 10:14; 1 Sam. 2:8; 2 Chron. 29:11, 14; Job 41:11; Psa. 24:1; 50:12; 89:11; Psa. 115:16; 1 Cor. 10:26, 28.

[34] See: Hal Lindsey, 71Ie Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam, 1989), pp. 49, 277; Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven’ (Eugene, OR: Harvest, 1988), pp. 231-235; H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse’ (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988), pp. 150-161; Albert James Dager, “Kingdom Theology: Part III, ” Media Spotlight (January:June, 1987), p. 11.

[35] Matt. 10:5-6; cp. Matt. 15:24.

[36] Rom. 1:16; 2:10; John 4:22.

[37] Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; 3:26.

[38] Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Psa. 22:27; 86:9; Isa. 5:26; 45:22; 49:6; 60:1-3; Jer. 16:19; Mic.

4:2; Zech. 8:22-23; Mal. 1:11.

[39] Acts 13:47; 15:15-17; Rom. 4:17; 9:24-26; 15:10-12; Gal. 3:8.

[40] Howard Vos, Mark, p. 141.

[41] House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 165. See also: Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979), p. 138.

[42] Lindsey, Road to Holocaust, p. 277. In another context, J. D. Pentecost is aware of the precariousness of the dispensationalist individualization of the term “ethnos” and attempts an argument supportive of it (Pentecost, Things to Come, p. 421).

[43] Karl Ludwig Schmidt, “ethnos” in Gerhard Kittle, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 10 vols., trans. by Geoffery W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1964), 2:369. See also: Ernest Klein, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of The English Language (New York: Elsevier, 1966), 1:547.

[44] Robert K. Barnhart, The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology (Bronx, NY: H. W. Wilson, 1988), p. 345. See also: Carl Darling Buck, A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949), entry 19.22, p. 1315. The Old Testament Hebrew, which is translated in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament by ethne, is goi, which is used “in the primary sense of a connected body” (J. A. Selbie, “Gentiles” in James Hastings, ed., A Dictionary of the Bible Dealing with its Language, Literature, and Contents Including the Biblical Theology (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, rep. 1955 [1899]), 2:149. This Hebrew word means “flow together, as a crowd, and was originally used in a general sense of any nation” (John M’Clintock and James Strong, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids: Baker, rep. 1969 [1887]), 3:788.

[45] Richard Chenevix Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (9th ed.: Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1969 [1880]), p. 368. The word is “based on such notions as… common ‘birth’, ‘customs’, or ‘language’, or are words for ‘country’ used also for its ‘people’.” Buck, Dictionary, Entry 19.22, p. 1315.

[46] Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: American Book Co., 1889), p. 168.

[47] According to Arndt-Gingrich, p. 217, these verses include: Mark 10:42; 11:17; 13:8, 10; Luke 12:30; 21:10; 22:25; Acts 8:9; 9:15; 10:35; 13:19; 17:26. Also see: Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 11:215; 12:6, 135; 18:25; Hermas, Similitudes 9:17:2; Barnabas 13:2; Philo, Decalouge 96; 1 Clement 59:4; 2 Clement 13:2.

[48] See: Luke 7:5; 23:2; John 11:48-52; 18:35; Acts 10:22; 24:2, 10, 17; 26:4; 28:19.

[49] The very term “gentile” in English is even derived from the Latin gentilis, gens,

which means “nation” or “tribe.” See: The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, 2 Vols., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 1:1130.

[50] Interestingly, rather than ethnos, the New Testament most often employs the Greek word hellenes (“Greek”) when distinguishing the Jew from others. See: John 7:35; 12:20; Acts 6:1; 9:29; 11:20; 14:1; 16:1,3; 17:4, 12; 18:5; 19:10, 17; 20:21; 20:21; 21:28; Rom. 1:14, 16; 2:9,10; 3:9; 10:12; 1 Cor. 1:22, 24; 10:32; 12:13; Gal. 2:3; 3:28; Col. 3:11.

[51] Matt. 24:14; 25:32(?); Mark 11:17; Luke 21:24; 24:47; Rom. 16:26; Gal. 3:8; Rev. 12:5; 14:8; 15:4; 18:3, 23. Even amillennialist theologian Anthony A. Hoekema admits “nations” in Matthew 28:19 refers to collected peoples on the various continents, although he reduces the meaning of the Commission to a mere witness. See: Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979), p. 139.

[52] Note the contextual reference to governors and kings. Also compare this prophecy with the Acts record of persecution.

[53] The Old Testament reading is from Isa. 42:1-3, where the NASV has “nations.” That text speaks of “justice” (Isa. 42:1, 3, 4), a concern for national entities.

[54] Here a contrast is set up between unfaithful Israel and the New Testament phase Church, as if comparing two nations.

[55] Notice the setting, which contrasts ethnos to “the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33).

Besides, surely Israel would be included among those who seek food and clothing (Matt. 6:31-32), rather than just non-Jews (“gentiles”).

[56] Even some dispensationalists argue for this reference to refer to distinct political entities (A. C. Gaebelein, Matthew, 2:247). The word is translated “nation” in the following versions: NASV, NIV, NEB, NKJV, RSV, ASV, Moffatt, Williams, Beck, and Phillips.

[57] As in the Today’s English Version (TEV).

[58] See: KJV, NASV, NIV, NKJV, RSV, Williams, Moffatt, Weymouth, Phillips, and Amplified.

[59] Lenski, Matthew, pp. 1178-1179.

[60] Lange, Matthew, p. 557.

[61] W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and

Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1957), p. 217.

[62] Matthew Henry. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell n.d. [1721]). 5:446. It must be observed that Henry says: Christianity, not the institutional Church. should be twisted in with national constitutions. The best modern treatment of this doctrine is found in North, Political Polytheism, op. cit. Contrary to some, not even the Mosaic Law endorses a merging or union of Church and State. It directs, rather, a harmony and mutual respect of Church and State under God. Even in Old Testament Israel there was a strong distinction between Church and State. There was a clear separation of priest and king; there was a difference between temple and palace. Israel was organized as a nation under Moses. Moses was Israel’s civil ruler; Aaron, not Moses, was the father of the priestly line. That God kept the ecclesiastical and civil offices separate in Israel is clear from such passages as 1 Sam. 13:11-13,2 Chron. 19:5-11 and 2 Chron. 26:16-21. Consequently. McClain is quite mistaken, when he asserts: “Under the

Mosaic law religious and civil authority were one. There was no separation of church and state.” Alva J. McClain, Law and Grace (Chicago: Moody, 1954), p. 14.

[63] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman, 1930), 1:244-245.

[64] Chamblin, Matthew, p. 760.

[65] Gary North, “Comprehensive Redemption: A Theology for Social Action”(1981), in North, Is the World Running Down’ Crisis in the Christian Worldview (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1988), Appendix C.

[66] A. B. Bruce, “Matthew,” in W. Robertson Nicoll, ed., Englishman’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, rep. 1980 [n.d.]), 1:339. See also: Hendriksen, Matthew, p. 998.

[67] Cleon Rogers, “The Great Commission” in Bibliotheca Sacra 130 (Jul-Sept, 1973), 265.

[68] James Morison, Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew (London: Hamilton, Adams, 1870), p. 679.

[69] “In the present passage a verb is used which in the New Testament occurs only in this one instance and is here applied only to him, namely, the very “super-exalted.” William Hendriksen, Philippians (New Testament Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1962), p. 113. Compare Acts 2:33; 5:31; Heb. 7:26; Eph. 4:10.

[70] For example: Col. 2:10; Rom. 14:9, 12; 1 Cor. 15:27; Heb. 1:4; and 1 Pet. 3:22.

[71] Rev. 17:14; 19:16.

[72] 2 Chron. 20:6; Prov. 8:15; Luke 18:8.

[73] Psa. 2:10-12; Psa. 47:2, 7, 8; 72:8-11; 148:11; Dan. 4:1, 25-27, 37; 6:25ff; Acts

17:7; Rev. 1:5.

[74] Rom. 13:4,6. Other religious titles are applied to civil rulers, such as “servant”

and “anointed.” See: Isa. 44:28; 45:1; Jer. 25:9; 27:6; 43:10.

[75] Rom. 13:4-9; 1 Tim. 1:8-11.

[76] Matt. 4:8-9; Luke 4:5,6.

[77] Gen. 1:26-28; 9:2; Job 35:11; Psa. 8; 115:16; Heb. 2:6-8.

[78] See earlier discussion in Chapter 1.

[79] It is important to recognize that the recently renewed debate called the Lordship Controversy indicates anew that the some evangelicals neither understand properly the nature of eschatology (the outworking of cosmic redemption) nor the nature of soteriology (the outworking of personal redemption). The anti-Lordship view advocated by certain evangelicals, such as Charles Ryrie and Zane Hodges, does not adequately take into account the genuine, Holy Spirit-effected change wrought in the elect sinner’s heart at the moment of the new birth. See Charles C. Ryrie, So Great a Salvation (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990) and Zane C. Hodges, Absolutely Free! (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989). For a more biblical understanding, see: Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “The Great Option: A Study of the Lordship Controversy” in Baptist Reformation Review, 5:1 (Spring, 1976) 49-79; John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Gospel According to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988); and John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament) (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1959 [rep. 1968]), pp. 211-238.

[80] Rom. 4:25; 5:1,9; 1 Cor. 6:11; Gal. 2:16; 3:24; Tit. 3:7.

[81] Rom. 6:3-14; 8:10, 14; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 1:6; 2:18; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 2:13; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:2.

[82] John 1:13; 3:3; 1 Cor. 4:15; Tit. 3:5; Jms. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23; 1 John 2:29.

[83] 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10.

[84] Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10.

[85] Jer. 31:33; Eze. 11:19; 36:26; Rom. 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:3; Heb. 8:10; 10:16.

[86] John 3:36; 5:21, 24; 6:67; Rom. 6:4-9; Eph. 2:1,5; Col. 2:12,13; 3:1; 1 John 5:11.

[87] Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 3:21; Eph. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:3.

[88] Rom. 6:14; 7:5,6; Eph. 1:19; 1 John 5:18.

[89] Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:22; 2 Tim. 1:14; 1

John 4:13.

[90] Rom. 8:10; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:19.

[91] 1 Cor. 12:6; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 2:12-13; Tit. 3:5; 1 John 5:4-5.

[92] Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1.

[93] Matt. 21:43; cp. 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6.

[94] Matt. 13:34; Luke 17:21. “The primary need, today as always, is the need for widespread personal repentance before God. We therefore need a Holy Spirit-initiated Christian revival to extend the kingdom of God across the face of the earth.” North. Political Polytheism, p. 611 (see also pp. 133, 157, 585-6).

[95] Zech. 4:6; Matt. 26:51-52; John 18:36-37; 2 Cor. 10:4-5.

[96] “Total depravity” indicates man is sin-infected in every aspect of his being, including his will, emotions, intellect, strength, etc. See: Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Eccl. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; John 3:19; Rom. 8:7, 8; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 4:17-19; 5:8; Tit. 3:5. Man is “dead in trespasses and sin;” he is not sick (Eph. 2:1, 5; cp. John 5:24; Rom. 6:13; Col. 2:13).

[97] Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven?, p. 82.

[98] Herschell H. Hobbs, An Exposition of the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1965), p. 421.