Chapter 7: The Continuance of Sovereignty

Kenneth L Gentry

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


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Chapter Text

“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).

As I have been noting throughout this study, the greatness of the Great Commission largely has been overlooked by modern Christians. In this chapter, I will consider another aspect of the Commission’s greatness that has been diminished at the hands of too many well-meaning expositors of Scripture: The expected outcome of the Great Commission in history. By way of introduction and before actually demonstrating the reasons for the progress of the gospel, I will state briefly what I believe those prospects are to be. Then I will return to provide the biblical foundation supportive of them, as found in the Great Commission and elsewhere.

The expectation of the Commission’s influence is that the gospel ofJesus Christ will gradually and increasingly triumph throughout the world until the large majority of men, with their cultures and nations, are held in its gracious and holy sway. The ultimate effect will be that unparalleled (though never perfect) righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail throughout the earth. In other words, the Bible holds forth a gloriously optimistic prospect for the future conversion of men and nations during this present gospel age. This view of the progress of history is known as postmillennialism,[1] for it teaches that Christ will return after millennial conditions are spread throughout the world.

Now to the task at hand. Regarding the bright future of a world won by the Great Commission, let us consider, first:

The Commission’s Empowerment

This point must be emphasized: No optimistic expectation for the future of1TUlnkind convincingly can be argued on a secular base. This glorious postmillennial prospect is not in any way, shape, or form rooted in any humanistic theory or on the basis of naturalistic evolutionary forces.[2] We cannot have a high estimation of the prospects of man’s future based on man in himself, for “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8). When left to himself, man’s world is corrupted and destroyed, a classic illustration being in the days of Noah (Gen. 6:5).

Neither is the hope for the progress of mankind under the gospel related to the Christian’s self-generated strength, wisdom, or cleverness.[3] Left to our own efforts, we Christians too quickly learn that “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John

15:5). In fact, this is well illustrated in the historical context in which the Great Commission itself was given. The Commission was issued by Christ to a small body of fearful Christians, who had very recently forsaken Him and had fled.[4]These men fearfully hid themselves due to the violent opposition to Christ generated by the Jews and exercised by the Roman Empire,[5] an opposition He prophesied would only get worse in their own generation.[6]

Yet now Christ comes to command these cowardly disciples to take the gospel u to all nations” (Matt. 28: 19), beginning first at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47)! They were now being instructed in the engagement of preaching the name of Christ in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and the site of Christ’s crucifixion, and Rome, the capital of “the nations” of the Roman empire under whose authority the crucifixion had been performed! How can they take heart in such a fearful prospect? Surely such would put their lives on the line before vehement Jewish opposition?[7] and an inconsistent Roman legal system![8] And how may we today expect to have any success with the gospel against our opposition? The humanist opposition is well funded, adequately equipped, and powerfully situated in seats of rule!

Nevertheless, a glorious future is ensured by God’s sovereign decree and on His principles, as we shall see, for He “works all things after the counsel of His will.”[9] The disciples then and today must learn that Almighty God causes all things, even the evil intentions of man, to work to His own ultimate glory and the good of His redeemed people.[10]

Regarding the greatness of this Great Commission to the nations, our command is not a command to “make bricks without straw.” The glorious hope comes “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6b). We may know that, in fact, we “can do all things through Him who strengthens” us (Phil. 4:13). For “God is able to make all grace abound to you that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed…. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Cor. 9:8, 10).

Rather than on a sinful naturalism, then, the prospect of gospel victory is based on a high supernaturalism that involves the powerful, penetrating spiritual influence of the Word of God and of Christ, which alone is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4: 12). In fact, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the very power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also the Greek.[11] And the Great Commission well informs the disciples of this.

The Basis for the Hope

I will not treat at length “the basis of hope,” for in essence I have done so earlier (Chapter 3-4). But I do need to reintroduce it into my treatment at this juncture by way of reminder. The sure basis for the glorious hope of mankind’s redemption is the sovereign authority of Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and King of kings.

We should remember that the Great Commission opened with this noble declaration: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18b). That authority encompassed heaven and earth and is “above every name that is named.”[12] Christ has the authority to perform His will among men.[13] He has “all authority” to command these frail, fumbling, and fearful disciples to engage the world changing work He wants done. In addition, that authority involves the Triune God, as well, for baptism is in “the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19b). What are the powers of mortal men or even of infernal Hell against such authority?

The Power for the Hope

By the grace of God – and only by the grace of God – are we enabled to do the work of the Lord with the hope of success: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58b). Though weak in and of ourselves, we are promised that Christ’s “grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9a). His power is perfected in our weakness. The assurance of covenantal succession via the Great Commission is granted with these truths in mind.

The words of authority claimed by Christ throw the emphasis squarely on Him to whom the authority was given. The exact order of words in Christ’s opening statement in the Commission is: “Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth.”[14] Grammatically, words cast forward in Greek sentences receive emphasis (this is called “prolepsis”); here those emphasized words are: “given to me.” Standing there before and with them in His resurrection body was the very One Who had just conquered death itself! As He opened His mouth to them He declared that He had the authority necessary for their aid. His very presence was an object lesson: He has authority to do the unthinkable.[15]

Furthermore, though He would be returning bodily to heaven soon (Acts 1:9), He left an enabling promise with them: “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b). Not only does He arrest their attention with this attention focusing “lo,” but again the Greek syntax is instructive. The Greek language is an inflected language. That is, its verbs do not require pronouns to specify their meaning. Contained in the verb ending itself is the pronoun idea. But when pronouns are used with the verb, as here, much emphasis is being cast on the statement. As Robertson puts it: “When the nominative pronoun is expressed, there is a certain amount of emphasis for the subject is in the verb already.”[16]

In the Greek, Christ could have said merely: “I am with you” (Gk: meth humon eimi). But He is much more emphatic; He is determined to drive the point home to these frail disciples. Here He says literally: “I with you 1 am” (Gk: ego meth humon eimi). As Lenski notes: “Ego is decidedly emphatic,” meaning essentially: ” ‘I myself.’ “That is, paraphrasing this into English phraseology, He says: “I myself am with you.” The drift is obvious: His scattered, fearful disciples should “let their eyes and their hearts remain fixed on him.”[17] He who claims “all authority in heaven and earth” and who has arisen from the dead will be with them.[18]

Believers are adequately empowered for the task of world evangelism and the Christian culture transforming labor that follows in evangelism’s trail.[19] The Christian has the abiding presence of the resurrected Lord of glory[20] through the spiritual operation of the indwelling Holy Spirit,[21] Whom Christ says grants “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). The Christian should not read the newspapers and fear the encroachments of the various branches of secular humanism in history, for secular humanism in all of its manifestations is but an idol for destruction.[22]

The Permanence of the Hope

And this powerful, enabling presence is not limited to the apostolic era of the Church. For the fourth time in these three verses He speaks of “all.” In verse 18 He claimed “all authority.” In verse 19 He commanded the discipling of “all the nations.” In verse 20a, He commanded the observing of “all whatever He commanded.” In verse 20b, He promised “I am with you ‘all the days’[23] – till the full end of the age.”[24]

Here Christ’s promise is a covenantal promise establishing succession arrangements. His perpetual presence will be with His people for however long they are upon the earth. The grammar here suggests He will be with them each and every day, through “all the days” that come their way. And due to the magnitude of the work before them – He commanded them to “disciple all the nations” – His Second Advent, which will close the gospel age, necessarily lays off in the distant future. As Bruce perceptively observes: “all the days, of which, it is implied, there may be many; the vista of the future is lengthening.”[25] Nevertheless, the resurrected Christ promises, “I myself’ with “all authority in heaven and earth” am with you until that distant end.

The Commission’s Goal

I have shown that by establishing the succession of the covenant, the powerful Christ promises to be with His people always. But this only renders the glorious prospect of world conversion and the glorious future resultant from that a theoretical possibility. With Christ’s presence the magnitude of the job certainly is not overwhelming.

But shall it come to pass in actuality? Is the evangelization of the entire world – including virtually all men and nations – the anticipated goal of the Great Commission? In an important sense, we are inquiring into the correspondence between the Lord’s Prayer and the Great Commission: Are we believingly to pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) and then to labor actually to fulfill the Commission to “make disciples of all the nations”?

Was John Calvin (1509-1564) correct long ago when he wrote the following regarding Christ and the Great Commission?

He had to hold supreme and truly divine power of command, to declare that eternal life was promised in His name, that the whole globe was held under His sway, and that a doctrine was published which would subdue all high-seeking, and bring the whole human race to humility.[26]

Briefly, they were to lead all nations into the obedience of faith by publishing the Gospel everywhere and that they should seal and certify their teaching by the mark of the Gospel.[27]

Was the beloved commentator Matthew Henry (1662-1714) in line with biblical warrant when he paraphrased Christ’s command in the Great Commission as follows: “Do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations”?[28]

It seems indisputable that this is precisely what Christ anticipates here. Let us carefully note how this is so.

The Hope Affirmed

Earlier in Chapter 4, I noted how Christ directed the Commission to all cultures and nations, and not just to individuals. In Chapter 5 I showed how the mission of Christ’s people was to “disciple” those to whom it was directed. Here I take a step further to consider the important fact that Christ fully expects that the nations will be converted and brought under His gracious sway.

Again I must qualify what I am saying in order to dispel any erroneous perceptions. I am not saying that the sum total of the Great Commission is directed to cultural renewal and that all else is incidental. The initial influence of the Great Commission necessarily works first in individuals, saving them from their sins and giving them new hearts. Then, those individuals who are saved and have been given new hearts are obligated to live new lives. To all Christians the Scriptures command that you are to “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. 2:12b-13). Christians are to bring every thought captive to the obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Christian cultural transformation necessarily demands the wide-scale salvation of multitudes of individuals. Implied in Christian cultural renewal is individual personal salvation.[29]

Having briefly noted that, I now turn to the words of the Great Commission as actually uttered by our Lord. The relevant portion of Christ’s command is really quite clear: “disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” That He fully expects the successful discipling of all the nations, may be supported on the following bases:

First, the grammatical structure of the command expects worldwide conversions. The Greek verb matheteuo (“disciple”) here is in the active voice and is followed by a noun in the accusative case, ethne (“nations”). In addition, it is important to understand that this verb matheteuo is “normally an intransitive verb [but is] here used transitively.”[30] That is, matheteuo trans fers its action (discipling) to its direct object (nations). Matheteuo appears only two times in the New Testament in the active voice and coupled with an accusative, here and in Acts 14:21.[31] The Acts passage is helpful in understanding the significance of the grammatical structure.

In Acts 14:21 we read: “Having proclaimed good news also to that city, and having discipled many, they turned back to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch.”[32] Here it is evident to all that the “many” have been “discipled.” Who would dispute the clear statement that the apostles actually “discipled” (the active voice of mathetuo) the “many” expressly mentioned? And this same grammatical relationship appears in Matthew 28:19, where we read the command: “disciple all the nations.” How is it that some do not understand Christ’s command to involve the actual discipling of “all the nations”? Is not the word “nations” in the accusative case and therefore the direct object of the discipling labor of the Church? In addition, Lenski states of this command to disciple: “this imperative, of course, means ‘to turn into disciples,’ and its aorist [tense] form conveys the thought that it is actually to be done.”[33]

Second, the lexical meaning of the term matheteuo supports the teaching of the expectation of worldwide conversions. As I noted earlier in another context, the Greek verb matheteuo does not mean merely “to witness.” It involves the actual bringing of the person or persons under the authoritative influence and instruction of the one discipling. It entails the actual making of a disciple for Christ.

Third, the supplementary and co-ordinate command anticipates worldwide conversions. It is evident that the command to disciple actually expects the conversion and training of the nations, for those nations are then to be baptized: “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them” (Gk: autous). According to Christ’s command, those who are discipled are to be baptized, which action clearly portrays their coming under the authority of the Triune God, i.e., becoming Christians.[34] In the original Greek, the plural pronoun autous (“them”) refers back to the plural noun ethne (“nations”). The nations are expected to become Christians by discipleship and to be marked out as under God’s rule by baptism.

There are those who attempt to circumvent this point by arguing that the pronoun “them” does not refer back to the “nations,” but to those who are made disciples.[35] They suggest that it is not the nations as such, but individuals from among the nations who will be baptized. They do so because the pronoun found here, autous (“them”) is in the masculine form, whereas the noun ethne (“nations”) is a neuter noun. Normally pronouns agree in gender with their antecedent nouns. The idea forwarded is that the noun form of the verb “to disciple” is matheus, which is in the masculine gender.

This view does not seem to have sufficient merit, however, for it requires the reading of a noun (“disciple”) where a verb (“to disciple”) actually appears. And it does so despite there being a suitable antecedent noun present, which is separated from the pronoun by only one word.[36] Also it presses a general rule beyond necessity. Winer’s Grammar notes: “it is a peculiarity common to the Pronouns, whether personal, demonstrative, or relative, that they not unfrequently take a different gender from that of the nouns to which they refer, regard being had to the meaning of the nouns, not to their grammatical sex… as Matt. xxviiL19….”[37] Robertson dogmatically states: “In Mt. 28:19 autous refers to ethne.” He, too, points out that “personal pronouns are sometimes used freely according to sense.”[38] Lenski concurs.[39]

The discipling is of “all the nations” (Matt. 28:19a). The preaching of repentance is to “all the nations” (Luke 24:47). Why should not all the nations be baptized (Matt. 28:19b)? In fact, do not the Old Testament prophets expect such? For example, Isaiah 52:12-15 prophesies of Christ:

Behold, My servant will prosper,
He will be high and lifted up,

and greatly exalted.
Just as many were astonished at you, My people,

So His appearance was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men.
Thus He will sprinkle many nations,
Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him.” (Emphasis added.)

Fourth, the eschatology of Scripture elsewhere expects worldwide conversions. Although space prohibits our full discussion of the evidence, I will select just two classes of evidence for the discipling and baptizing – the Christianization – of the world.[40]

The presence and prospects of Christ’s kingdom. That Christ’s kingdom is powerfully present and growing in influence is evident upon the following points considerations:

  1. The time of the kingdom came in Christ’s ministry: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:14-15).[41]
  1. The kingdom was declared present and operative during His ministry: “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28).[42]
  1. In the lifetime of His hearers it would show its power:

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mark 9:1).[43]

  1. Christ is even now at the throne of God ruling and reigning over His kingdom: “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:22).[44]
  1. His rule will grow to encompass the entire world until He has put down all opposition: “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Heb. 10:12-13).[45]

The design and results of Christ’s redemption. It is evident from the New Testament record that Christ’s design in salvation was to secure the redemption of the world, as I showed earlier.[46]

  1. He died in order to redeem the “world.” The Greek word for “world” (kosmos) signifies the world as the system ofmen and things. God created this world of men and things; Christ has come to redeem it back to God. “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:17).[47]
  1. He died with the expectation of drawing “all men” to Himself: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:31).[48] Christ is called “the Savior of the world,” because of the comprehensive design and massive influence of His redemptive labors. The Great Commission is the means by which God will draw all men to Christ.

The Hope Denied

Despite the clear statement in the Great Commission, there are evangelical Christians of influence who somehow miss what seems so obvious. At an academic discussion held over this whole question, some evangelicals maintained “the futility of trying to change the world in the current age.”[49] Dispensational theologian Harold Hoehner replied against the postmillennial hope: “I just can’t buy their basic presupposition that we can do anything significant to change the world.”[50]

Another evangelical, Albert Dager, has stated: “To ‘disciple all the nations,’ or, ‘make disciples [out of] all the nations,’ does not mean that every nation as a whole is one day going to… learn the ways of Truth. The Great Commission requires us to go into all the nations and disciple ‘whosoever will’ be saved.”[51] It is interesting to note that in order to discount the glorious expectation of the Commission, Dager has to import words into the text. The following italicized words show his textual additions: “make disciples [out of] all the nations,” “go into all the nations” and “disciple ‘whosoever will.'” Christ simply says: “make disciples of all the nations,” without all the embellishments. The basic issue is this: discipling (disciplining) nations means extending God’s kingdom authority in history.

One recent evangelical book attempts a strong case against the obvious meaning of the Great Commission, a case which forms, in essence, the whole point of that book. Popular writer Hal Lindsey vigorously assaults the very interpretation of the Great Commission, which I am suggesting. He cites the Great Commission with translational observations and then comments on those observations: “Go therefore and make disciples of [Greek=out of] all the nations [ta ethne in Greek=the Gentiles], baptizing them…. Nothing in these great commission passages implies that we will convert the world and take dominion over it.”[52]

Later, after citing postmillennialists who view the Commission as I am presenting it, he comments:

They interpret the command “make disciples of all the nations” to mean the Christianizing of society and culture, and the systematic taking over of all the governments[53] of the world.

There is a very important reason, in addition to those listed above, why this interpretation is unsupportable from the Bible. The original Greek text of Matthew 28: 19 will not permit this interpretation. The genitive construction means “a part out of a whole.” The term “nations” is the same Greek word (ethne) I dealt with in chapter four….

There never has been and there never will be a totally Christian nation until the Lord Jesus Christ personally reigns upon this earth.[54]

In response, I say there is a very important reason why Lindsey’s interpretation is unsupportable: There is absolutely no genitive case “nations” in Matthew 28:19! If there is no genitive, there can be no “genitive construction.” What he thinks is the genitive case is actually an accusative, with which he accuses us! Consequently, his very “important reason” is a figment of his imagination. Furthermore, the Scriptures I have cited above do expect a Christian world as a result of the promotion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Donald G. Barnhouse, a dispensationalist forerunner of Lindsey, Hunt, and others cited herein, is surely wrong when he presses the point of a perpetual minority status for Christianity. He attempts to do so based on the statement in Acts 15:14: “So, together, they mean ‘to call out of,’ to take something out of its setting. This is what God does. He reaches down and takes out a people. God is not going to save everyone in Philadelphia, or New York, or San Francisco, or Rocktown Center, or wherever. No, God says, ‘I’m saving this one, and that one, and these, and those and this person and that individual.”‘[55]

But then, what becomes of His being the Savior of the world (John 4:42) and of all men (John 12:32)? Why does He command us to “disciple all nations, baptizing them” (Matt. 28:19)?

House and Ice assert of the various post-resurrection commissions of Christ: “there is no language or tone in either of these passages that would support the notion of Christianizing the world.”[56] But as I have shown, that is precisely the “language” and “tone” of the Great Commission. It is interesting that these dispensationalist[57] writers are at variance with other dispensationalists, who vehemently argue that the Great Commission does involve the very discipling of the nations. Dispensationalist W. H. Griffith Thomas writes:

English phrase, “make disciples of all the nations,” is ambiguous, for literal rendering of Greek is, rather, “make all nations disciples” and not “make disciples out of all nations”; thus, commission embraces whole nations rather than indicating individuals from among them (cf. Acts 14:21, which means that apostles “made many people disciples”)….

– – – – –

Matthew gives aim and scope of Great Commission, and passages like Acts 14:21 and 15:14 actual results.[58]

Neither are amillennialists[59] immune from washing out the victory inherent in the Great Commission and elsewhere in Scripture. An otherwise excellent treatise entitled God-Centered Evangelism by reformed theologian R. B. Kuiper sees no ultimate pre-Second Advent victory for the Great Commission: “Jesus’ parables of the mustard seed and the leaven (Matt. 13:31-33) teach the growth of Christ’s kingdom; and the growth of Satan’s kingdom is patently implicit in the Saviour’s plaintive query: ‘When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?’ That twofold process [of the concurrent growth of Christ’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom] is being exemplified in current events. The heathen nations are slowly being Christianized, while the Christian nations are reverting to paganism.”[60]

Likewise, Anthony Hoekema writes: “[A]longside of the growth and development of the kingdom of God in the history of the world since the coming of Christ we also see the growth and development of the kingdom of evil.”[61] And in response to the postmillennial interpretation of Matthew 28:18-20 as set forth by Loraine Boettner,[62] Hoekema argues: “The clear implication of [Matthew 13:36-43] is that Satan’s kingdom, if we may call it that, will continue to exist and grow as long as God’s kingdom grows, until Christ comes again. The New Testament gives indications of the continuing strength of that ‘kingdom of evil until the end of the world.”[63] Hendrikus Berkhof also posits a parallel development of good and evil.[64]


We must ask ourselves important questions regarding the expectation of the Great Commission. For instance, since the Great Commission is a covenantal obligation, does it not have appropriate succession arrangements, which are designed to insure its continuance and fulfillment? We should consider which is stronger, sinful depravity or gracious redemption?[65] Is not the gospel “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16)? Does Satan have an equally great commission? Is Christ struggling to a draw until the last moments of history? Shall Antichrist prevail in the very history in which Christ entered and commissioned His Church?[66]

All such non-postmillennial thinking runs aground on the very greatness of the Great Commission. For in that Commission we find a vivid expectation of a gospel-induced conversion of the world. An expectation fully compatible with the teaching of Scripture in all sections. An anticipation that does not require a reading of words into the text. A glorious hope that is fully commensurate with the authority available and the goal set.

[1] For a definition of “postmillennialism,” see Chapter 11.

[2] It is interesting to read Ecclesiastes and note the comparing of the view of life from “under the sun” (Eccl. 1:14; 2:11, 17) with a view of life from the divine perspective. The “under the sun” view parallels perfectly the secular humanistic view, that cuts itself off from the God of Scripture. All becomes “vanity and vexation of spirit” in such a worldview.

[3] It seems that too many even among evangelicals see evangelism as a manipulative method, rather than a delivering of the message of truth. One of the great evangelists of the last century, Dwight L. Moody, is praised by one writer in that he: “was the creator of many innovations in evangelism, such as the effective use of publicity, organization, and advertising, and in so doing he ‘completed the reduction of evangelism to a matter of technique and personality.'” George Dollar, A History of fundamentalism in America (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University, 1973), p. xi. Megachurch fundamentalist pastor Jack Hyles has even taught the necessity of having fresh breath when doing personal evangelism. This is because bad breath may turn off the potential convert, who may then die and go to hell. Jack Hyles, Let’s Go Soulwinning (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord, 1968).

[4] Cp. Matt. 28:16 with 26:56, 69-75.

[5] John 19:5-16; 20:19; Acts 4:26-27.

[6] Matt. 23:34-36; 24:9-13, 34 (and parallels); Acts 20:28-31; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 4:12-19.

[7] John 19:6, 15; Acts 4:17-18, 33, 7:54-58; 9:1-3; etc.

[8] Christ was taunted, scourged, and crucified by the Roman procurator Pontius

Pilate, despite Pilate’s knowing Christ’s innocence (John 18:38; 19:4,6, 12).

[9] Eph. 1:11; Cp. Dan. 4:35; Psa. 115:3; 135:6; Isa. 46:9,10; 55:11.

[10] Gen. 50:20; Psa. 76:10; Acts 4:27-28; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:22.

[11] Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:8.

[12] Eph. 1:21 Phil. 2:9 Phil. 2:10 1 Pet. 3:22.

[13] Acts 18:9-10; Rom. 9:19; 2 Tim. 4:17; Rev. 19:11-16.

[14] Robert Young, Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (3rd ed.: Grand Rapids: Baker, n.d. [1898]), New Testament, p. 23.

[15] There is an absurd liberal theory of Christ’s death and resurrection called the “Swoon Theory.” This theory teaches that Christ passed out from exhaustion on the cross and was revived by the coolness of the tomb. In that His treatment was so severe, however, He could have had no influence on the disciples in a battered body from which He claimed “all authority in heaven and earth.”

[16] A. T. Robertson and W. Hersey Davis, A New Short Grammar of the Greek Testament (10th ed.: Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958), p. 264.

[17] Lenski, Matthew, p. 1180.

[18] Interestingly, Matthew’s Gospel opens with Christ’s prophetic name “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). He also promises to be with His people in Matt. 18:20.

[19] Christ will strengthen His people to do His work, John 16:33; Acts 26:16-18; Phil. 4:13; Rev. 1:9-20.

[20] Matt. 18:20; John 15:18; Acts 18:10; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 13:5.

[21] John 7:39; 14:16-18; Rom. 8:9; 1 John 4:4.

[22] Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and Its Confrontation with American Society (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983).

[23] The Greek here translated literally is: pasas tas hemeras.“all the days.”

[24] Young, Literal Translation, New Testament p. 23.

[25] A B. Bruce, Englishman’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans. rep.

1980 [n.d.]), 1:340. See the expectation of a long period of time between the First and Second Advents of Christ in Matt. 21:33; 24:48 25:14,19; Mark 12:1; Luke 12:45; 19:12; 20:9; 2 Pet. 3:4-9; Luke 12:45. For a helpful article on the anticipated delay in the Second Advent of Christ, we refer the reader once again to: Herbert W. Bowsher, “Will Christ Return ‘At Any Moment’?”, The Journal of Christian Reconstruction 7:2 (Winter, 1981), 48-60. See also: Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler. TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 217-222.

[26] John Calvin, Harmony, p. 249.

[27] Ibid., p. 250.

[28] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Old Tappan, NJ:

Fleming H. Revell, n.d. [1721]) 5:446.

[29] Two of the most prolific writers calling for Christian cultural transformation are Rousas j. Rushdoony and Gary North. Yet in Rushdoony’s massive Institutes of Biblical Law, regeneration is frequently set forth as the pre-condition to success in the endeavor. R. J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law (Vallecito, CA: Ross House, 1973), pp. 113, 122, 147, 308, 413, 627, 780. In North’s works the same holds true. Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Plurality (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 133, 157, 585-586, 611.

[30] D. A. Carson, “Matthew” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed.,The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library, 1984), 8:595.

[31] A. T. Robertson, A Greek Grammar in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville:

Broadman, 1934), p. 475.

[32] Robert Young, Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker,

n.d. [1898]), New Testament, p. 94

[33] Lenski, Matthew, p. 1172.

[34] See discussion of “baptizing in the name,” pp. XXX [pp. 82ff – ed]

[35] Carson, “Matthew,” EBC 8:597.

[36] The relevant portion of the Greek of Matthew 28:19 is: matheteusate panta ta ethne, baptizontes autous, “disciple all the nations (ethne), baptizing them (autous).

[37] George Benedict Winer, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, rev. by

Gottlieb Lunemann (7th ed: Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1886), Sec. 21-2, p. 141.

[38] Robertson, Historical Grammar, p. 684. He lists the following examples in which the personal pronoun autos refers back to non-personal nouns: the “world” (2 Cor. 5:19), a “city” (Acts 8:5), a “crowd” (Mark 6:64), and “the uncircumcised” (Rom. 2:26).

[39] Lenski, Matthew, p. 1179.

[40] For a fuller discussion see: Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 139-286. See also: Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Tyler, TX: Geneva Divinity School Press, 1983 [1954]); David Chilton, Paradise Restored (Ft. Worth: Dominion, 1985); John Jefferson Davis, Christ’s Victorious Kingdom: Postmillennialism Reconsidered (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986). Consult also the systematic theologies by Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, W. G. 1: Shedd, and Robert L. Dabney.

[41] See also: Matt. 3:2; 4:17. Cp. Luke 4:16-21; Gal. 4:4; 2 Cor. 6:2.

[42] See also: Matt. 11:11-14; 12:28; Luke 11:20; 16:16; 17:20-21.

[43] See also: Matt. 16:18, 19; 26:64.

[44] Acts 2:29-36; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20-23; Phil. 2:8-11; Heb. 1:3, 13; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 1:5-6.

[45] See also: Matt. 13:31-33; 1 Cor. 15:20-26; Heb. 1:13; 10:12-13. Hal Lindsey disputes the use of Matt. 13:33 in this connection: Some “try to make the symbol of leaven in this parable refer to the kingdom of God and how it will spread to take dominion over the earth. However, there’s one big problem with that interpretation – leaven in the Bible is always wed as a symbol of evil’s explosive power to spread. It is never used as a symbol of good.” Lindsey, Holocaust, p. 47. However, there are three “big problems” with Lindsey’s interpretation: (1) Leaven does not explode; it works slowly and subtly. (2) It is used in some offerings to God in the Old Testament and surely does not represent an evil gift to God (Lev. 7:13 and 23:7). (3) It is absurd to say that Christ preached “the kingdom of heaven is like evil (leaven)!

[46] See below, pages 60-62, for a fuller exposition of these points.

[47] See also: John 1:29; 1 John 2:2; 4:14; 2 Cor. 5:19. See: B. B. Warfield, “Christ the Propitiation for the Sins of the World,” ed. by John E. Meeter, in The Selected Shorter writings of Benjamin B. Warfield (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1970 [1915]), 1:23.

[48] See also: 1 Tim. 2:6.

[49] Cited by Randy Frame, “Is Christ or Satan Ruler of This World?” Christianity Today, 34:4 (March 5, 1990) 42.

[50] Ibid., p. 43.

[51] Albert James Dager, “Kingdom Theology: Part III,” Media Spotlight (January-June, 1987), p. 11.

[52] Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam, 1989), p. 49 (emphasis his).

[53] His statement goes a little too far here with the somewhat extreme sounding embellishment: “systematic taking over of all the governments of the world.” This sounds militaristic and revolutionary – especially since his book opens with a quotation from Adolf Hitler! Our view is of the gracious and redemptive victory of Christ’s gospel over men and nations, not armed revolution.

[54] Ibid., p. 277.

[55] Donald Grey Barnhouse, Acts: An Expositional Commmtary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979), p. 137.

[56] H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988), p. 152.

[57] For a definition of “dispensationalism,” see Chapter 11.

[58] W. H. Griffith Thomas, Outline Studies in the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961), pp. 464, 465.

[59] For a definition of “amillennialism,” see Chapter 11.

[60] R. B. Kuiper, God-Centered Evangelism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1961), p. 209.

[61] Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and The Future (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans,

1979), p. 85 (cp. 68, 70n, 118-119, 134, 136).

[62] Ibid., p. 177.

[63] Ibid., p. 180.

[64] Hendrikus Berkhof, Christ the Meaning of History, trans. from the 4th cd., by L.

Buurman (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979 [1966]), p.p 177-178.

[65] Ask yourself the following: Have any lost people ever been saved? Then ask: Have any saved ever been lost? Now compare the answers to determine which is stronger, grace or sin.

[66] See Norman Shepherd, “Justice to Victory” in The Journal of Christian Reconstruction 3:3 (Winter, 1976.77) 6-10.