PMW 2021-017 by by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
One of the most beloved passages of Scripture is the Lord’s Great Commission. Most Christians know it quite well, are able to find it in the Bible, and can cite it by heart. They also instinctively love it as the command of the resurrected Lord. Unfortunately, though it is well-known, it is poorly understood. It is loved as a foundational command for Christ’s church, giving her the marching orders of the exalted Christ. But it is seldom recognized as a strong witness to the postmillennial hope which provides an optimistic outlook on history.
In this four-part study, I will provide an exposition of the Great Commission, demonstrating its postmillennial orientation. We can see the glory of the Commission if we note the four appearances of the word “all” in it. In this lesson I will focus on the first two “alls”: Christ’s claim to “all authority” and his charge to disciple “all nations.” Let’s get started.
It is extremely important to remember that the Great Commission is given after the resurrection. The significance of the resurrection is not fully appreciated by modern evangelicals, who are more theologically attuned to singing “There Is None Like the Lowly Jesus” than “Crown him with Many Crowns.” Their eschatology and over all view of historical progress is more shaped by the Fall of Adam than the Resurrection of Christ.
Greatness of the Great Commission (by Ken Gentry)
An insightful analysis of the full implications of the great commission. Impacts postmillennialism as well as the whole Christian worldview.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Prior to the resurrection, a frequent refrain of Christ was: “I can do nothing of Myself” (cf. John 5:19, 30; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10). But now after the resurrection, Christ says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). “Given” is an aorist passive verb, which speaks of this grant of all authority as occurring at a past point in time. This grant of “all authority in heaven and on earth” is given by God the Father, who according to similar terminology in Matthew 11:25; Acts 17:24; and elsewhere, is called “Lord of heaven and earth.”The Greatness of the Great Commission
This investiture of Christ with universal authority is a frequent theme of Scripture. Acts 2:30-31, the passage which the Lord used to deliver me from dispensationalism, reads: David “being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ…” (Acts 2:30-31). Here that investiture with kingly authority at His resurrection is to the Messianic throne of David. He is seated there in confident expectation of victory, as Peter points out by citing Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:34: “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:34-36). (Incidentally, Psalm 110:1 is in the New Testament the most frequently cited and alluded to passage from the entire Old Testament.)
Romans 1:4 says: He is “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Again we see that He was invested with authority as the Son of God at the resurrection.
This great theme of “all authority in heaven and on earth” is echoed in Ephesians 1:19-22: “His mighty power [was] worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.” follows suit:
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.”
The Truth about Postmillennialism
By Ken Gentry
A group Bible study guide for explaining the optimistic prophetic hope for this world to be accomplished before Christ’s Second Coming. Establishes the postmillennial system in both the Old and New Testaments. Touches on key eschatological issues, such as creation, covenant, interpretive methodolgy, the great tribulation, the Book of Revelation, the Jewish Temple, and more. It presents and answers the leading objections to postmillennialism.Twelve chapters are ideal for one quarter of Sunday School.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
What, then, is the nature of this grant of “all authority”? The “all” here is used in the distributive sense. It indicates “all kinds” of authority; authority in every realm. He possesses every kind of authority in heaven (i.e., in the spiritual realm) and on earth (i.e., in the temporal realm). He does not claim authority only over the Church or over individual redeemed men. He claims authority over the family, education, business, politics, law, medicine — all areas of life.
The “all authority in heaven and on earth” reflects God’s authority in Matthew 11:25, as we have mentioned: “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” We must ask ourselves: In what areas of life is God’s authority limited? Obviously in no area, for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psa. 24:1). When you call Jesus “Lord,” you are not just speaking of His Lordship over your spiritual life as an individual. You are affirming His lordship in all areas of life, in whatever calling you or anyone else undertakes “on earth.” Truly this is a Great Commission.
But there is more! See you next time.
Click on the following images for more information on these studies: