Is the Great Commission for a future dispensation?

Is the Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 for the present dispensation, or only for one yet future?

“The Lord Jesus before His death made just one appointment with His disciples, which was, to meet Him on a certain mountain in Galilee after He had risen (Matthew 26:32; Mark 16:7). Of this fact we are reminded in Matthew 28:16, the opening verse of the paragraph in which the Commission is contained. There had been some more or less informal meetings elsewhere previous to it, but this was the specially prearranged meeting, which naturally would overshadow them all in importance. yet there are those who would ask us to believe that what He told them when He met them there, was not about their Own work at all; but that He gave them minute instructions and comforting assurances with regard to the work of some other unknown individuals, who would live two thousand or more years after their time. They would have us believe that when He said, “Go ye and teach,” lie meant that somebody else was to go and teach; that when He said, “I am with you,” He meant, I will be with some other people who will be on earth two thousand years hence; and that when He added, “Even unto the end of the age,” He meant, until the end of some other age. Those who can swallow this kind of thing must have good digestion, for I frankly confess I prefer to believe that the Lord meant just what He said.

The statement, which some of these brethren make, that Matthew does not acknowledge the Church period, is absurd. Is it not in Matthew that we have the formal introduction of the Church in chapter 16, and of Church order in chapter 18? Is it not there that we find the Lord’s action, so symbolical of turning from Jew to Gentile, in chap. 13. 1; in which after having been definitely rejected by the Jewish leaders in the two previous chapters, it is said, “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the seaside”? And immediately after, He speaks the Seven Parables of the Mysteries of the Kingdom, which have so often been shown to picture successive stages of this present Church period. That Matthew’s Gospel has a Jewish tinge, no one who is a careful reader can doubt; but this is far off from the Conclusion that there is nothing in it except for Jews. The Gospel of Luke has a Gentile tinge, but would these brethren suggest that there is nothing for Jews in Luke, nothing about the Tribulation, nothing about Millennial times? As a matter of fact, the Commission as given in the end of the Gospels of Luke and of Mark, has a more Jewish Sound about it than the form of it occurring in Matthew.

As illustrating the fact that the Apostles did carry out Matthew 28:18-20 there is a word worth noting in Acts 14:21: “They had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught (Gr., discipled) many.” It is the very word, “matheteuo,” used in Matthew 28:1, and this is the only place in the New Testament, apart from Matthew’s Gospel, where it occurs. Were they not here carrying out the Commission as given in that verse?”

W.R.