“Ye Shall Be Witnesses unto Me”

Acts 1:8

8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

President Spencer W. Kimball said:

“I ask you, what did He mean when the Lord took His Twelve Apostles to the top of the Mount of Olives and said:

“‘. . . And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).

“These were His last words on earth before He went to His heavenly home.

“What is the significance of the phrase ‘uttermost part of the earth’? He had already covered the area known to the Apostles. Was it the people in Judea? Or those in Samaria? Or the few millions in the Near East? Where were the ‘uttermost parts of the earth’? Did He mean the millions in what is now America? Did He include the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, in Greece, Italy, around the Mediterranean, the inhabitants of central Europe? What did He mean? Or did He mean all the living people of all the world and those spirits assigned to this world to come in centuries ahead? Have we underestimated His language or its meaning? How can we be satisfied with 100,000 converts out of nearly four billion people in the world who need the gospel? . . .

“If there were no converts, the Church would shrivel and die on the vine. But perhaps the greatest reason for missionary work is to give the world its chance to hear and accept the gospel. The scriptures are replete with commands and promises and calls and rewards for teaching the gospel. I use the word command deliberately for it seems to be an insistent directive from which we, singly and collectively, cannot escape. . . .

“. . . It seems to me that the Lord chose His words when He said ‘every nation,’ ‘every land,’ ‘uttermost bounds of the earth,’ ‘every tongue,’ ‘every people,’ ‘every soul,’ ‘all the world,’ ‘many lands.’

“Surely there is significance in these words!”

(“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 4, 5.)

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