Posted by: SandreS | May 17, 2010

Israel’s Great Commission, Part 3

What Is Being Said?

As we have mentioned earlier, the “Great Commission” is usually dealt with devotionally and not doctrinally; therefore its contents are obscure to the average church-goer. The size of this work will not allow us a full study of each passage but what follows are a few of the sections for our consideration.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you … (Matthew 28:20).

In the “Great Commission,” Israel’s Apostles were to teach their converts all of the commandments that Christ gave while He was here on earth so that they might observe them. Honest individuals, even while deceived into believing that this commission is theirs, usually do not teach others to observe all of Christ’s commands. Note the following example:

Christ commanded a total disregard for the physical and material things even to the point of bare subsistence.

Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat; neither for the body, what you shall put on … and seek not what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be of doubtful mind … sell what you have, and give alms … (Luke 12:22-33).

So likewise, whosoever he is of you who forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:33 – c.f. Matthew 6:19-34; 10:8-11; 19:21).

Jesus taught His Jewish followers to sell all that they had – forsaking all – and to take no thought for their physical sustenance. This is exactly what the Twelve Apostles did. They forsook all and followed the Lord.

Then answered Peter and said to Him,

“Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed You; what shall we have therefore?”

And Jesus said to them,

“Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit upon Twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel. And everyone who has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit age-lasting life” (Matthew 19:27-29).

Obviously the Twelve Apostles took the commandments of the Lord to them literally. It is also obvious that He intended them to do so. Under Israel’s “Great Commission,” these Apostles were to teach “whatsoever” the Lord had commanded them, and they did just that.

They continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s doctrine … and sold their possessions and goods (Acts 2:43, 45).

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none …” (Acts 3:6).

… As many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them … (Acts 4:34).

Barnabas … having land, sold it … (Acts 4:36-37).

Could anything be clearer? What Jesus commanded, the Twelve observed. What Jesus commanded, the Twelve taught under the “Great Commission” to their converts. What Jesus commanded, the converts of the “Great Commission” observed.

Now let’s note the contrast between these things that Jesus commanded during His earthly teaching ministry, and what He later taught in His heavenly ministry through Paul. The Lord does not teach members of the Body of Christ to sell all that we have – forsaking all – and to take no thought for our physical sustenance.

If any provides not for his own, especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (I Timothy 5:8).

The children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children (II Corinthians 12:14).

Even in the passages of Scripture where the Lord Jesus Christ instructs us through Paul to give, He does not instruct us to sell all that we have, but that they we have a proper attitude toward material possessions and make good use of our resources (e.g. I Timothy 6:17-19).

Now, all of this is just one example of what Jesus commanded during His earthly teaching ministry to Israel (while He was “a minister of the Circumcision” – Romans 15:8). All of Christ’s earthly commands to Israel were incorporated into the “Great Commission.”

(To be continued …)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 1989, 2010

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