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The Great Commission of Matthew 28:
pp. 145 - 149
Those who value dispensational truth often have a problem with the so-called Great
Commission of Matt. 28:, for it seems to conflict with the commission given by the
Lord Jesus to the twelve apostles in Matt. 10::
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of
the Gentiles (the nations), and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10: 5, 6),
and this was in line with His own ministry, for to a Gentile woman He said,
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15: 24).
The Lord restricted His earthly ministry to Israel and also that of the twelve apostles.
However, after His resurrection He appeared to contradict this to the same apostles:
"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee . . . . . and Jesus came and spake to
them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and
teach all nations (Gentiles), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (age). Amen"
(Matthew 28: 16-20).
It is quite clear that now their ministry was greatly enlarged to embrace all nations, but
what was the reason for this? Many interpret it of the future gathering in of the church,
but in the Scriptures that follow, this is shown to be wrong. The Body of Christ at this
time was still a secret "hid in God" (Eph. 3: 1-11; Col. 1: 24-27) and when God hides
no one can find until He chooses to reveal. He did this through Paul's prison epistles.
We quote from a future article on Matthew's Gospel which deals with this problem:
"In the passage quoted in Matt. 28: (verses 19 and 20) the Lord Jesus speaks as
the One having all the resources of heaven as well as earth at His command. This can
mean nothing less than sovereignty in both spheres of heaven and earth. His authority
and power in His earthly life had been great (Matt. 7: 29; 11: 27). Now it is boundless
and it is this fact that must be proclaimed the world over, so that His kingdom and
authority may at last be realized."
As we have seen, the Gospel of Matthew commences with the restriction of His
ministry and that of the disciples to Israel (Matt. 10: 5-8; 15: 23, 24). In Mark's account,
to the Gentile Syro-Phoenician woman, the word of Christ were, "let the children first be
filled" (Mark 7: 26, 27). The children were Israel; they were to have the message first,
but not first and last, that is for the kingdom message to be permanently restricted to
them. Its world-wide extent is implicit in God's unconditional promise to Abraham,
that through his seed (posterity) all families of the earth would finally be blessed
(Genesis 12: 1-3).