Does Matthew 24:14 mean that the Gospel needs to be preached to the whole world before the Rapture can occur?
Dr. David Reagan and I recently had the pleasure of asking this question of our old friend Evangelist Don McGee on the show Christ in Prophecy. Don is the founder and director of Crown & Sickle Ministries (Rev. 14:14) based in Amite, Louisiana. Don travels all over the Unites States preaching about the soon return of Jesus Christ and speaking at Bible prophecy conferences.
Nathan Jones: Matthew 24:14 reads, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” How do you interpret that verse?
Don McGee: That verse has been taken out of context so many times. Many take that verse to mean that the Gospel has to be preached to everybody in the world before Jesus can come back, but in reality that verse is talking about the Second Coming. It is not meaning that the Gospel has to be preached to the whole world before the Rapture of the Church.
After the Rapture, the world will hear the Gospel from the Two Witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. Then there is this angel during the Tribulation who preaches the Gospel to the whole world. Revelation 14 tells us the Gospel angel circumnavigates the globe, preaching the Gospel to every person before the final pouring out of God’s wrath. If you want a precedent for that, look at what happened in Egypt when the death angel moved across the land destroying the first born of the families. This is going to be totally different, of course, because it is going to instead be the preaching of the Gospel. God can move His messengers as He wills.
Nathan Jones: So, we don’t have to reach every little tribal group in some Brazilian mountain or somewhere with the Gospel? This reaching the whole world is totally something after the Rapture?
Don McGee: That’s right. Since the Rapture could happen at anytime, Matthew 24:14 has nothing to do with the Gospel going out to the whole world before the Rapture.
Dr. Reagan: I can think of a couple of other things that would bring people to the Lord, in fact, there are three others that come to mind right now. The first would be that the Rapture itself might convince some people, although there is going to be a lot of deception concerning the Rapture. Secondly, there are going to Bibles everywhere. In fact, in the front of my Bible I have written down what you must do to be saved. I have given people who may find my Bible this because they are not going to have a lot of time. So, there will be Bibles around. Thirdly, there will be the very pouring out of God’s wrath. You know, our God is an amazing God. Even when He pours out His wrath, His fundamental purpose is not to punish. His fundamental purpose is to bring people to repentance so that they might be saved. It says in Isaiah when God plows the earth He does so for the purpose of bringing people to salvation.
Don McGee: That’s right! God is not a tyrant. He’s not some deity up there who wants to smash people. His grace and His mercy spring from His love, and He loved the whole world. The whole purpose behind this pouring out of God’s wrath is to work with the Jewish people to help them come to salvation.
Dr. Reagan: I am glad that you mentioned that point because there is a fellow on MSNBC which is notorious for being liberal. Lawrence O’Donnell has a nightly program where he once said something like, “Anyone who believes the book of Revelation is nuts. It’s a work of fiction. It reveals a horrible God who is worse than Hitler.” What do you have to say about that?
Don McGee: I would say He is not the God that I know. Secondly, it sounds like O’Donnell doesn’t know anything about the book of Revelation. I think he is probably parroting something that some heretic said years ago and still are saying today. I think that a person can read the book of Revelation with a prayerful attitude and understand exactly what the Lord wants us to see there. Dr. Henry Morris once said, “Revelation is not hard to understand, it is just hard to believe.”
Dr. Reagan: The purpose of God’s wrath is also to deal with rebellion, with hardcore sin. He has given people plenty of time to repent, but there comes a time when by His very justice He must deal with sin.
Don McGee: The precedent for that can be found in the book of Judges in that cycle of sin, if you remember. When you read about that cycle of sin you will see that every time the people came under persecution from the Philistines then they would repent and come back to God. That’s the whole idea behind God’s wrath.
In the next part of our discussion with Don McGee concerning the end times, we’ll ask him for his assessment of the spiritual condition of America today.