Concerning the end of the world and when this will happen Mark 13:10 says:
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. (NIV)
Has the gospel been preached to all nations?
I think there is general agreement on terms. Preaching the gospel can be verbal and does not require the Bible to be published in every language and dialect. Mark 13:10 was a command to the apostles decades before the gospel first appeared in written form. The apostles did not understand this command to mean 'published', or they would have rushed out and written a gospel immediately. 'Nations' is to be read as understood in the first century: as ethnic groups, not as political entities, and presumably not as individual towns or local communities.
Colossians 1:23 says the gospel has been preached all over the world, to everyone under heaven, but clearly this was not yet true, because the author of Colossians was only aware of the Mediterranean/Near Eastern world. The author of Colossians tells us that the gospel had been preached to all nations within that geographically limited world, so his is the meaning I would use for 'preach'.
The Joshua Project shows numerous communities as 'unreached' even in Europe, United States and Australia (including two of Australia's biggest cities). The Joshua Project definition of unreached can not mean that there are so many places where the gospel has never been preached, even if only on a street corner or in a house. The International Mission Board estimates are likewise measures of success, not of preaching. I do not see in Jesus' statement in Mark 13:10, a command to the apostles to preach to all nations, that the gospel must be accepted and believed by a substantial proportion of each ethnic group. It seems that Jesus' command is fulfilled by having preached the gospel, even if people choose not to believe.
Colossians tells us that the gospel had been preached all over the Mediterranean/Near Eastern world by around the middle of the first century, although we know the great majority of people had never personally heard the gospel. By the same standard, the gospel has now been preached all over the entire world.
The word translated 'nations' is ἔθνος (ethnos), from which we derive the word 'ethnic'. It is talking about ethnic communities, which we might call people groups today, not political states.
The Joshua Project estimates that there are 16,825 people groups in the word. Of those, 7,287 are unreached, by which they mean "less than 2% Evangelical Christian and less than 5% Christian Adherents". Because there are so few Christians in an unreached people group they will struggle to evangelise their own group with the gospel, which means many Christians believe they need outside missionary help. This represents 2.91 billion people.
The International Mission Board estimates there are 2,945 unengaged people groups. An unengaged people group is one where there are no Christian in the group, and no plan for anyone to take the gospel to them. They estimate there are over 190 million people in unengaged people groups.
I believe this was fulfilled. In Col. 1:23, the apostle Paul wrote,
At least, if you choose to believe it was fulfilled, you have a biblical justification for doing so.
Prominent dispensationalist John MacArthur understands this passage to be a prophecy that will be fulfilled in the future, but not primarily through the church's work of evangelism. Instead, his literal approach to Revelation indicates to him that immediately prior to the outpouring of the bowl judgments (Revelation 16), God will send an angel to "supernaturally present the gospel to every person on earth":
MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Matthew 24:14
Before even trying to unravel the mystery behind Jesus statement in Mark 13:10 we need to first determine just what and who Jesus meant. The two key words here are published and nations.
King James translation
Definitions of the Greek words:
Since Jesus spoke Aramaic and the Gospels were written in Greek we can not know for certainty these are accurate meanings, but since Greek is a verb oriented language, the meanings must be very near exact.
So We can say with assurance that what Jesus was saying is that the Gospel must be proclaimed to all tribes, which also would be all languages.
So how many languages are there?
Much pioneering work in documenting the languages of the world has been done by missionary organizations (such as the Summer Institute of Linguistics, now known as SIL International) with an interest in translating the Christian Bible. As of 2009, at least a portion of the bible had been translated into 2,508 different languages, still a long way short of full coverage.
I may be wrong, but as I see it that Scripture will be fulfilled when the Bible is translated into all those languages and presented to them.
Much translation has been done since 2009, but I am unsure how many are left to be translated and published.
Colossians 1:6 (GOD'S WORD® Translation)
Colossians 1:23 (New Living Translation)
While word translated 'nations' is ἔθνος (ethnos) is the word from which we derive the word 'ethnic', according to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, this word is defined as "body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions", the Lexicon tells us it should be translated as Nation or People in this context (it can also be translated as Gentiles) and the majority of the translations cited are "Nation".
Strong's Concordance agrees and records that this word is translated as "nation" or "nations" 67 times and "people" or "pagans" only 3 times.
Operating under the assumption that the translators knew what they were doing and translated this correctly, yes - the Gospel has been preached to every nation.
The Jesus Film Project reports
This film depicts the life, ministry and death of Jesus - the Gospel.
According to the project, the film is available in 1390 languages (currently) with more added every year. A complete list can be found here.
Because the film has been shown in every country in the world, the Gospel has therefore been preached to every nation.
No. According to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature,
One valid translation of this word is "Gentile" and Strong's Concordance records that it is translated this way in 93 of 163 appearances. Threfore, this word should more likely be translated as Gentile.
Since the Gospel has not been preached to every Gentile, the requirement of Mark 13:10 has not been filled.
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