Until We All Come
By C. Eldon McNabb
Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: ..."
In the late 1950s this passage began to be emphasized among some Pentecostal groups and gradually became commonly quoted in the community. A lot of "explaining" accompanied its use, and the understanding of what these ministries are came to be varied according to what Sect you were listening to. One thing is sure: Jesus received gifts from His father and has given those gifts to Holy-Ghost-filled men. Rather than consider what the manifestation of these gifts is, I would like for us to consider the other aspect of this passage: their purpose and the duration of their manifestation among us.
THEIR WORK - First: The perfecting of the saints. The ministers with these five gifts will completely furnish the believers who are under their care with all true knowledge and understanding. (Jer. 3:15) Second: They will accomplish all of the other works of their calling, such as Evangelism and Pastoral duties, praying for the needs of the people, etc. Third: They will do what ever is necessary to establish, strengthen and settle the saints in the things which pertain to the kingdom of heaven.
And what about the term of their usefulness? First, Paul said, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith." Apparently the work of these ministers is not yet done! This particular task is actually rejected by most Christian ministers, on either a limited or general scale. But the scriptures - and these are Holy Scriptures - cannot be broken. Some group of believers will come in the unity of the faith. Concerning the promise to Israel Paul said, "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." Just as surely, not all of Christianity will ever accept all of the truth of God, but an election - a remnant - will receive it and come in the unity of The Faith. In Jesus' words, "The harvest is the end of the world." Second, he said, "Till we all come in the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God." Won't it be a wonderful thing when God's people all speak of the Son of God in the same harmonious terms. Third, "Till we all come unto a perfect man." That is, until we have fulfilled, in both Jews and Gentiles, Proverbs 4:18, increasing in the light of God unto the perfect day. And fourth, "(Till we all come, both Jew and Gentile) unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." According to Rev. 7, the Jewish Church accomplished that by the sealing of 144,00 Jews. In Chapter 14:1-4 the same number of Gentiles will also be sealed. In Rev. 21:9-27, and particularly v. 17, we are told what the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ is. "He measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel." That angel was the angel of Christ. We know therefore that both halves of God's Elect will reach 144,000, making 288,000, which is the number associated with the Throne of David.
Let's go, Apostles and Prophets. Let's go, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. We have a lot of work to finish before Jesus Comes. The harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few. So let us work!