POSTMILLENNIALISM IN THE GREAT COMMISSION (1)

King AuthorityPMT 2006-044 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.

All Authority

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.

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


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


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” (Rom. 1:4). 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.”
129 Commission and Worldview


Great Commission and the Christian Worldview
Nine mp3 lectures by Ken Gentry

In these nine lectures is demonstrated the world altering consequences of the Great Commission. An important and encouraging study on the biblical foundations of the Christian worldview.

See more study materials at: http://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.


Click on the following images for more information on these studies:


Beast ID

Before Jerusalem Fell

He Shall Have Dominion

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2 thoughts on “POSTMILLENNIALISM IN THE GREAT COMMISSION (1)

  1. Danil July 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    To give some background, I am recent full preterist who was previously postmil. My question is on the Great Commission in terms of what Jesus states directly after this mandate, “then the end shall come”. The question I have is, doesn’t the Bible say that the apostles and Paul completed the Great Commission before 70 AD? The context being that Jesus gave the commission of the first century to be primarily focused on gathering the lost sheep of Israel throughout Judea and the diaspora, along with gentiles from those areas. Citing the following verses that you probably well aware of:

    1) Bring the gospel to the Jew first, then to gentile (Mat 10:1-23 (repeated in Olivet discourse Mat 24:9-10, Mark 13:9-13, Luke 21:12-17),Mat 15:24, Rom 1:16).

    2) Great Commission completed (2 Tim 4:17-18 (in expectation of 2nd coming), Rom 1:5-8. 1 Tim 3:14-16, Rom 15:8-12 (quoting prophecy Isaiah 11:9-12), Col 1:4-6, Col 1:23, Rom 15:26-30, Rom 16:25-26, Acts 2:4-12 (sole purpose speaking in foreign tongues?).

    3) Preached to Gentiles to provoke Jews to jealousy referring to Romans 10:19 (quoting prophecy Deut 32:21) and 11:11-14 (Acts 13:44-47, Acts 17:4-5).

    This however, does not negate the fact that we should still evangelize today (Isaiah 9:7).

  2. Kenneth Gentry July 14, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Thanks for reading! And thinking through the issues.

    One problem I have with your observations is that the Great Commission effectively begins a new phase of Christ’s ministry: a program for the “nations.” During his earthly, pre-crucifixion ministry the Lord did focus on the Jews, as Matt. 10 makes clear. However, at the issuing of the Commission this changes, and it changes in keeping with the original promise of God to Abraham: “In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3d). See the historical structure of Acts as indicated in Acts 1:8.

    The initial fulfillment in principle lays the foundation for the gradual, unfolding, global fulfillment in the future. God works through the principle of gradualism in Scripture. For instance, he promised Israel that they would receive the Land of Canaan “little by little”: Deut 7:22 “The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed.” Israel’s earliest conquests in the Land was a “downpayment expecting the full conquering of the Land to come.

    Likewise, the first-century fulfillment of the Great Commission in principle guarantees to us the full victory in fact that will come before history ends.

    I hope this is helpful. Be careful about leaving the historic, corporate, public, universal, systematic Christian faith long held by the Christian church. Joseph Smith did this; Charles Taze Russell did this; the hyper-preterists are doing this.

    The Commission was completed in principle but not in fulness in the lifetime of the disciples. The Commission has a Now/Not Yet fulfillment focus. This is similar to the resurrection being (spiritually) now (Eph. 2:6) but (physically) not yet (John 5:

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