Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 13, 1951

The Great Commission: Its Commitment

E. C. Koltenbah, Pekin, Indiana

Thus far we have dealt with the features of the great commission, with its scope, its application, and with its comprehension. Now we proceed in considering the question: What is the first concrete example of the exercise of the all-authority of Jesus, as claimed in the great commission, and what are some necessarily inherent implications?

1. That example is the giving of the great commission itself. It was then that the apostles received of Christ the necessary delegated authority to accomplish the task to which Jesus had called and fitted them to do. True, they were forbidden to act until endowed with power by the overwhelming of the Holy Spirit, but the power would have had little use without the commission to designate it. Again, the giving of the commission to the apostles and the power of the Spirit are necessarily bound together in their work. So, we note that the apostles received the necessary adequate power in the baptism of the Spirit. They further received the necessary divine credentials in the miraculous powers to be employed as signs of their divine mission. It is a divine rule that revelation is never offered to the human race by the testimony of a single witness. Who saw the "revelations" of Joseph Smith, of Ellen White, or Mary Eddy? In each instance the testimony goes unsupported by other witnesses. In the case of the apostles, not only were there twelve men (Paul added later) bearing the revelation of Christ, but the Holy Spirit bore witness with them by the miracles they were enabled to perform. (Heb. 2:4) The apostles also received the necessary effective equipment in the content of the commission which will be considered later.

2. This commission endowed the apostles with the highest authority ever wielded by man. This statement may seem absurd to some and denied by others, but a few moments reflection ought to be sufficient to convince one of its truth. Men may wield political and military power over immense populations, but such power is temporary and stops at physical death; it cannot reach beyond that barrier. But the authority of the apostles reaches to the end of time and concerns the life that now is and that which is to come. The fact that their authority is in the spiritual realm does not lesson its reality nor its magnitude. We submit the following considerations in support of this view. (1) Since no one before or since ever made such a claim to all-authority as Jesus did; nor since no one else was ever able, nor can be able, to make such a commitment as Jesus did to the apostles. The commission is unique. (2) Since Christ never made any other like commitment, and never will, it follows that no one else other than the apostles possesses, or ever will possess such delegated authority. Their position is unique. (3) This authority was sufficient to bind laws all-inclusive and all exclusive in matters of eternal moment. The use of this authority by the apostles is unique. (4) It was of such magnitude as to be void of repeal, amendment, suspension, annulment, or other alteration. (cf. Jude 3, Gal. 1:8-9) All additions, subtractions, or alterations of any kind whatsoever are examples of, and proof for, human usurpation of this divine authority delegated to the apostles by Christ. The true nature of such usurpation only is recognized by high heaven.

3. This commission is the constitution of the church of Christ. It presupposes its divine origin as seen in Christ's pronouncement. It suggests its unique nature as seen in its spiritual concept. This has been discussed sufficiently for the present purpose in the foregoing section. The commission furnishes certain marks of identity of the church as seen in its structure and function. The creed, ordinances, message and mission of the church are set forth and the function of each suggested. The purpose and destiny of the church are likewise suggested in the terms of the great commission. An excellent statement on the great commission as the constitution of the kingdom of Christ was made by Foy Wallace, Jr., in the November, 1942 issue of The Bible Banner, pages 4 and 5, under the topic, "The Great Commission." We quote an excerpt.

"It is evident that Acts 1:3 has a direct reference to the 'all things' of the commission. This being true, all the principles of the kingdom are embodied in this divine constitution—the Great Commission. Everything that can be preached by the authority of Jesus Christ in the command:--Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you. The apostle preached nothing that did not come within the range of this commission. Everything that pertains to the kingdom of Christ is in it. Preachers today who preach anything about the kingdom which the apostles of Christ did not preach are outside the pale of divine command and are preaching things for which there is no authority in heaven or on earth!"

4. This commission contains the necessary ingredients for the extension of Christ's rule on earth. This is seen in its militant proclamation, Christ's command, "Go ye into all the world," and "preach the gospel to the whole creation." Again, it is seen in its effective terms, by which sins were forgiven and citizens added to the kingdom that cannot be shaken. The curricula of instruction also testifies to the truth of this premise, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," certainly would contribute to the extension of Christ's rule on earth. Finally, the power of penalty, viz., "he that disbelieveth shall be damned," testifies to the fact that the commission embodies the ingredients necessary for the extension of Christ's rule on the earth.

"Now to him that is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known unto all the nations unto obedience of faith: to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen." (Rom. 16:25-27)


W. E. Fortney, 162 Harrison St., Clarksburg, W. Va., Sept. 3: "One was restored in the meeting at Hartshorn Ridge, Ohio."


Wm. E. Wallace, Hickory, N. C., Aug. 27: "I am moving from Asher, Okla., to Hickory, N. C. I close 15-months of successful work at Asher. The opportunities for growth in N. C. are great. Preachers and finance are badly needed. I look forward with an anticipation of successful labors with the good brethren at Hickory."