And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:14)
More than a few missionary agencies have taken this prophecy as their mission verse, believing it will be the church itself fulfilling this prophecy to bring about the return of Christ. However, there is an alternative interpretation on this verse that understands this prophecy will be fulfilled by, not the church, but an angel. And this “angelic” interpretation denies it will be fulfilled progressively over the church age; instead, it will be fulfilled by an angel just before the day of the Lord. The following passage is given in support:
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He declared in a loud voice: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!” (Rev 14:6–7)
This angel proclaims the “eternal gospel” to all nations just before the end of the age (day of the Lord), which strikingly alludes to Matthew 24:14. This global proclamation will be God’s last warning to the world to repent and “give him glory” because “the hour of his judgment has arrived.” So we should not assume Matthew 24:14 is referring to the Great Commission, since it likely refers to the angelic proclamation.[i]
[i] For more exposition on this point, see Charles Cooper, “That Other Gospel,” Parousia, The Sign Ministries Newsletter, Summer 1998.