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Matthew 28:19-20:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [ESV]

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [NASB]

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. [KJV]

19 having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them -- to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days -- till the full end of the age.' [YLT]

When Jesus said "I am with you always, to the end of the age", did he have Christians from all ages in mind, or just his immediate listeners (the apostles)?


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The discussion and promise of the Advocate/Comforter in John 16 makes clear that Jesus would be with all his disciples throughout the rest of the Christian era. If this were not true then none of Jesus promises make any sense.

For example, the promise of the Holy Spirit in Rom 8:9 says that without the Holy Spirit we cannot be Christian. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit was only given to the apostles of the 1st century, then the Christian era died with them and we have been pagans ever since!

The "end of the age" simply means throughout the rest of the Christian era. The same phrase appears in other contexts and denotes the second coming of Jesus:

  • Matt 13:39, 40 - and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
  • Matt 13:49 - So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous

The "age" or "era" that Jesus refers to was inaugurated by Jesus Himself - see appendix below.

  • Heb 9:26 - Otherwise, Christ would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

APPENDIX - "Last days" is the Christian era

  • Acts 2:17 – Peter calls the day of Pentecost the “last day” in fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel. Compare v29-32.
  • 2 Tim 3:1 – perilous times in the “last day” which Paul discusses as already at his time.
  • Heb 1:2 – “These last days” God is revealed in Jesus.
  • James 5:3 – warning against rampant materialism and worship of money in the “last day”, that is, the time of James himself.
  • 1 Peter 1:5 – Christians reveal God and are miraculously preserved in the “last time”.
  • 1 Peter 1:20 – Jesus revealed in these “last times”.
  • 2 Peter 3:3 – Peter writes about his time as the fulfillment of that spoken by the ancient prophets about the “last days”.
  • John 2:18 – Twice, John calls his time the “last hour”.
  • Jude 18 – Jude describes his time as the fulfillment of ancient prophecies about the “last time”.
  • Rev 2:16, 3:11, 22:7, 12, 20 – Jesus says, “I am coming soon/quickly”.
  • Even in a passage like John 6:39, 40, 54 where Jesus refers to the resurrection at the “last day” that time began with His death, Matt 27:50-53.

The New Testament writers looked forward to a future day when Jesus would return, Matt 16:27, 24:30, 31, 38, 39, 42, 26:64, Mark 8:38, 13:26, 27, Luke 21:25-28, John 14:3, Acts 1:11, 1 Cor 1:7, 4:5, 11:26, Phil 3:4, 20, 1 Thess 1:9, 10, 3:13, 4:16, 17, 5:23, 2 Thess 2:1, 2, 8, Titus 2:12-14, 2 Tim 4:8, Heb 9:28, 10:25, 37, James 5:7-9, 1 Peter 2;12, 2 Peter 3:8-10, 1 John 2:28, 3:2, 3, Rev 1:7, 3:11, 22:12, 13, 20, 21, etc. See also 1 Peter 1:3-5, 13.

The important phrase, “Day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20, 1 Cor 3:13, 5:5, 2 Cor 1:14, 1 Thess 5:2, 4, 2 Thess 2:2, Heb 10:25, 2 Peter 3:10, 12) all remind us that final judgement and the Lord’s return will occur on the “Day of the Lord”. The wicked greatly fear the time of Jesus return: 1 Cor 3:13, 2 Thess 2:8, Rev 6:15-17, 11:18, see 1 Cor 4:5, 2 Cor 5:10, Acts 17:31, John 12:48, Ps 68:2. By contrast the righteous are elated: Isa 25:9. See also Isa 13:6, Jer 46:10, Eze 7:19, 30:3, Joel 1:15, 2:1, 11, 31, 3:14, Amos 5:20, Obad 1:15, Zech 1:7, 8, 14, 2:2, Zeph 1:18, 2:3, 14:1, Mal 4:5.

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  • This is well stated.
    – Xeno
    Jun 23 at 22:58
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Many label Matthew 28:19-20 the Great Commission. People have debated whether it applied only to Jesus' disciples whom he spoke directly to or if it applies to all Christians. καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ⸉μεθʼ ὑμῶν εἰμι⸊ πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος (and look I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age) is part of that commission. Either the whole commission applies or none of it does.

This passage has only one imperative phrase μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (make disciples of all nations). The other verbs are participles related to this command until Jesus made his promise.

πορευθέντες ⸀οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, ⸁βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος,  διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν·* καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ⸉μεθʼ ὑμῶν εἰμι⸊ πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος. ⸆ (Matt 28:19–20, NA28)

Note: The imperative along with the connected participles is a command. One of the connecting participle phrases is διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν (teaching them to keep all whatever I commanded you). Thus, the Great Commission is a reflexive command. The disciples are to teach the disciples they make to keep the command of the Greek Commission, and the promise to be with us goes with it.

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All Christians of course, because if only the apostles, then they lived only a couple of decades after those words of the Lord, and if His words do not spread upon His followers after first-mid-second centuries AD, then it will follow that the Lord has abandoned actual history from that time to now and entertains Himself only with the souls of the departed apostles. Moreover, when other Christians' souls also ascend to Heaven, the Lord is not with them either, limiting Himself only with those handful of the guys whom he actually, physically stirred the membranes of ears with waves of His voice when He was yet on earth. Interesting: in this case would it be possible to ask a soul of one of the apostles to switch places for a short while, so that to enjoy the Lord's presence at least so?

Sorry for indulging into those absurdities, but reductio ad absurdum has been one of the means to make a point since the beginning of philosophy.

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