And he said unto them
Not at the same time, and place, as before; not on the first day of the week, on which he rose from the dead, but forty days after, just upon his ascension to heaven; see ( Mark 16:19 ) ; nor at Jerusalem, but in Galilee, where be appointed to meet his disciples, and did, when he gave them the following commission; see ( Matthew 28:16 Matthew 28:18 Matthew 28:19 ) .
go ye into all the world:
not only into Judea, and through all the cities of it, where they had been before confined; nor only into the Roman empire, which is sometimes so called, because great part of the world was under that government; but into every known and habitable part of the whole universe, to all the nations of the world under heaven: and it is to be observed, that this command is not enjoined on every apostle separately, as if each of them was to go into all the world, and travel over every part; but that one was to go one way, and another another way; every one had his line, or that part of the world marked out for him, whither he was to steer his course, and where he was to fulfil and finish his ministry: and besides, this commission not only included the Apostles, but reaches to all the ministers of the Gospel in succeeding ages, to the end of the world; and since this, one part of the world, which was not known, is now discovered; and the order includes that, as well as the then known parts of the world, and the Gospel accordingly has been sent into it.
And preach the Gospel to every creature;
not to inanimate and irrational creatures, as stocks and stones, the beasts of the field, &c. nor to all rational creatures, as angels, good or bad; the former need not the preaching of the Gospel, and the latter are denied the blessing; but men, the offspring of fallen Adam, the objects of God's good will: these are styled "the creatures", because the chief of God's creation on earth; and are often in the Jewish writings so called; take an instance or two:
``R. Chuninn ben Dousa F18 used to say, all in whom, (twyrbh) , "the creatures" (i.e. men) have delight, God has delight; and in whomsoever "the creatures" (or men) have no, delight, God has no delight.''One of the seven qualifications of a member of the sanhedrim is, (twyrbh tbha) , "love of the creatures" F19, or love of men: so it is said F20, that
``the holy blessed God, sits in the height of the world, and gives a portion of food, (hyrb lkl) , "to every creature",''that is, to every man: and particularly the Gentiles, as distinguished from the Jews, are often intended by this phrase: thus
``says F21 R. Judah, perhaps, (twyrbh) , "the creatures", (i.e. the Gentiles,) knew the love with which the holy blessed God Ioved Israel, and roared like lions to pursue after them.''It is elsewhere F23 said,
``all the prayers, (twyrb lv) , "of the creatures" (the Heathens) are only concerning the earth; Lord, let the earth bring forth! Lord, let the earth be fruitful! All the prayers of the Israelites, are only for the house of the Lord; Lord, let the house of the sanctuary be built, &c.''And in this sense is the phrase used, in ( Romans 8:22 Romans 8:23 ) ( Colossians 1:23 ) ( 2 Peter 3:4 ) . Now to these, Christ would have the Gospel preached, as well as to the Jews; even to all, without any distinction of people, Jews and Gentiles, Barbarians, Scythians, bond and free, male and female, rich and poor, greater or lesser sinners, even to all mankind; than which, nothing was more provoking to the Jews; who would, if they could, have revoked and made null this commission of Christ; see ( 1 Thessalonians 2:16 ) . It was the Gospel he would have preached to them, the word of peace and reconciliation, by his atoning sacrifice; the doctrine of free and full pardon by his blood; and of justification by his righteousness; and of complete salvation by him: even every doctrine relating to his person, as God and man; to every office of his, as prophet, priest, and king; to his incarnation, sufferings, and death, his resurrection, ascension, session at the right hand of God, and intercession for his people, and second coming to judgment; with every doctrine relating to the grace of God, of the Father in election, and the covenant of peace, of the Son in redemption, and of the Spirit in regeneration and sanctification: all which he would have published and declared in the most free, plain, and open manner, with all boldness, faithfulness, and constancy. A compendium and summary of which, is given in the next words.
F18 Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 10.
F19 Maimon. Hilch. Sandedfin, c. 2. sect. 7.
F20 T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 118. 1. Vid. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 86. 1.
F21 Zohar in Exod. fol. 2, 3.
F23 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 11. 3. Vid. T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 12. 2.