The Lord made an amazing statement before He sent out His followers to preach the Gospel to less than a million people, when He said;
“When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:23, NKJV)
He basically said, “Before you are finished preaching to them, I’ll be back!”
Now, wait a minute! Israel is a small country—332 miles from north to south, and 40 miles from east to west. Even with 82 people preaching, covering Israel with the Gospel shouldn’t have taken long.
And everything seemed to come crashing down when Jesus gave His life on Calvary’s cross. Was it all over?
When He rose from the dead, and before ascending into heaven, Christ proclaimed to His followers:
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NKJV).
Then came Pentecost (Acts 2). The fire of the Holy Spirit spread throughout Jerusalem. People were added to the church daily. Soon, the Gospel spread throughout the region, fanned by the flames of persecution against the Christians.
Then in AD 70, Jerusalem fell to the Roman Empire. The city and its Temple were destroyed.
Many Jewish people were killed during the siege of the Holy City. The historian, Josephus, reported that 1.1 million people—mostly Jews—were murdered, and the remnant of both the church and children of Israel were driven out of their homeland; dispersed all over the world.
Early church founders continued preaching elsewhere, but for the most part, there is scant mention of Jewish believers after the apostles died.
The church continued to spread throughout the world, but there was little, if any, preaching of the Gospel to the Jews inside Israel for 2,000 years.
Our Lord had prophesied, “Before you are finished preaching to the cities of Israel, I’ll be back!” (Matthew 10:23). But how could that happen when the cities of Israel were overtaken by foreign nations?