Article: The Ends of the Earth

Source: Lausanne Movement

The phrase “ends of the earth” is used 46 times in the Bible. Sometimes the phrase speaks of approaching judgement on God’s people, as when God “stirs up from the ends of the earth” an army from Babylon or “from the north” (Jeremiah 6:22; 50:41). Other times, it forecasts foreboding, all-inclusive judgement on sinful humanity (Jeremiah 25:30-32).

Conversely, the prophets foresee a great salvific reversal! Gentile nations will one day “come from the ends of the earth and say, ‘Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good’…Therefore I will teach them—this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord” (Jeremiah 16:19-21).

Metaphorically, “ends of the earth” means “as far as one can go.” All the world. All humanity, and all compartments of humanity. Every race, nationality, ethnic and language group. All peoples everywhere.

“As far as one can go”—that’s something to think about! It is likely far, far away from our home zone or comfort zone, and Christianized contexts where the church is domestic and the gospel (often) domesticated by a one cultural group or setting. “The ends of the earth” challenges us to consider: How far are we willing to go—geographically, culturally, socially, in prayer, service, suffering, and sacrifice—to ensure that all peoples everywhere have a witness to the gospel?

Read more. You may be able to borrow some of author Len Bartlotti’s content for a project or presentation of your own.

While you’re at it, check out a major new publication from Lausanne, a newly released multi-author and data-rich report on the State of the Great Commission.

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