Luke’s description of the church in Antioch in Acts 13 presents Antioch as the prototype church in the nations and Paul and Barnabas’ sending from Antioch as the biblical pattern for formation and sending in the church. This chapter is foundational for our understanding of church, formation, and sending.
It is a common assumption that the New Testament shifts the focus from Israel to the nations. The New Testament does give a clear directive to take the gospel to the nations and also describes the spread of the gospel among the gentiles. However this Great Commission is not disconnected from God’s promises to Israel.
Most believers assume that the Old Testament is primarily about Israel and the New Testament is a shift in emphasis in the nations as defined by the Great Commission. However, we must see the Old and New Testament as a single, unified story and the Great Commission as deeply rooted in both the Old and New Testaments.
What if what is happening right now in the Middle East is not the beginning of the end times, but the opening of a door for a witness of the gospel that must be given in the region before the end comes?