Recall that in response to His prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple Jesus is answering His disciples’ request for a sign for when such things would take place, which they also associated with His coming and the end of the age (Mat 24:3). In addition to the false Christs and false prophets who would arise from the world to mislead the many seeking a more worldly kingdom, and the tribulations this would cause for His true disciples seeking His heavenly kingdom of righteousness and peace, what additional sign does He give in Mat 24:14 before the end will come? In the present context where holding fast to the kingdom of God and His principles is set in sharp contrast to being misled or falling away into the kingdoms of this world and its principles, what is the significance that Jesus adds that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations”? See Mar 13:9-13, Luk 21:12-13 and think: in what way do the circumstances He has just described provide the opportunity for the gospel of His kingdom to be proclaimed to the very heart of the kingdoms of this world? Cf. Act 4:5-7, 6:8-12, 18:12-13, 22:30, 23:33-24:1, 25:1-5,11-12,22-23, Phil 1:12-13. etc…. Are such opportunities just a witness in order that men might be saved, or is the proclamation of the gospel, especially in such circumstances, also a testimony that the kingdom of God has come and stands in condemnation against the kingdoms of this world? See Dan 2:31-45, Joh 7:7, 1Ti 6:13 (see John 18:36-37 for Jesus’ testimony before Pilate), 1Pe 3:19-20; cf. Mar 6:11, Jam 5:3. In what way has this very thing happened throughout history and is happening even now in persecuting nations around the world such as China, Iran, and even the United States? Think: when people violate the laws of Caesar in order to keep the laws of God, whether in regard to worshiping God in truth or not violating their conscience in the acceptance of homosexuality, and they are prosecuted for it, in what way do such things herald the coming of God’s kingdom in opposition to the kingdoms of this world? On the other hand, when vileness is exalted among men and those who claim to be the people of God acquiesce and don’t stand for the truth for fear of suffering loss in the world, what do such things herald about which kingdom they actually represent? Cf. Mat 16:24-26.
What is the significance that Jesus didn’t say the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in the whole world but this gospel of the kingdom? Notice that “this” is a demonstrative pronoun that refers to an antecedent; what then is this gospel of the kingdom to which He is referring that shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations? See Mat 24:13 and the preceding context that contrasts the gospel of Christ’s kingdom that is opposed by the kingdoms of this world with the false gospels proclaimed by false Christs and false prophets that are aligned with the kingdoms of this world. For in contrast to the false gospels that deceive many who are seeking to save their lives in this world, the true gospel leads His disciples to lay down their lives in this world and endure to the end in order to gain a heavenly kingdom; cf. Heb 11:1-2,4-5,39 and note that the NAS “gained approval” is literally “obtained a testimony”—the testimony obtained by faith that is at the heart of the Christian gospel and that condemns the world, Heb 11:7; cf. Heb 11:38a. See also Eph 1:13, Rom 1:16, 2Ti 1:10 and notice that the gospel of our salvation is the good news of the message of truth through which we are saved by our Savior Jesus Christ; notice too that the immediate context of “this gospel of the kingdom” that “shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations” is that the one who will be saved is he who endures to the end, Mat 24:13. What does this help us to better understand about the gospel being much more than just the “1-2-3-4 and you are saved” easy-believism that many associate with the gospel today? Who does it also help us to understand those are who proclaim a gospel of easy-believism? See Mat 24:11.
What does Jesus mean by “the whole world” in which the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached? See the NAS text note that the Greek word used means literally the inhabited earth; cf. Act 11:28, 24:5 for the same word. Do His words necessarily mean that the gospel must be preached to every single inhabitant in the world before the end can come? In what sense was the gospel of Christ’s kingdom preached in the whole world even before 70 A.D. when Jesus came in judgment upon the Jewish nation and the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed marking the end of the Jewish age and paving the way for His kingdom to come to all nations through the Church? Cf. Act 2:5, 17:6, 28:22, Rom 10:18, 15:19, Col 1:6,23. Has the gospel been fully preached in that same sense in all the world even today? Should we then assume that the end cannot yet come for that reason? As the end that came in 70 A.D. was not the end of the world, but the end of the Jewish dispensation, should we necessarily assume that “the end” to which Jesus refers as applied to our own age refers to the end of the world?
1. Thus, that which they thought to prevent, by putting Christ to death [and persecuting His followers], they thereby procured; all men believed on him, and the Romans came, and took away their place and nation, John 11:48. Matthew Henry↩