"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached ..." (Matthew 24:14)

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14)

Was the end of the world coming?

Many claim that Jesus was predicting the end of the world. This is supposedly the meaning of 'then shall the end come."

Why would Jesus warn his disciples of something that would not occur in their lives? It has been two thousand years since Jesus' disciples passed from this earth. Was Jesus really discussing an event that would take place thousands of years into the future?

Why should they be concerned about some event that was going to happen more than two thousand years from now? Are they future historians or something?

Put it this way: Would you be concerned about something that will happen more than 2,000 years from now?

The intention of the early Roman translations was to infer the end of the world was just around the corner. This kept followers in a state of fear. It also ignored the slaughter of the Israelites during the Jewish-Roman Wars.

Translated into Latin some 300 years after Jesus spoke this, the Roman institution falsely created the impression that Jesus was discussing the coming end of the whole world, rather than the coming Jewish-Roman wars that spanned over 60 years following Jesus' passing.

Did their predictions come true?

The end of the world did not come - together with judgment day - despite so many early bishops and popes having predicted it. This created a philosophical problem for the Church because the assumption was that everyone would be judged at the end of the world as well. So what happened to those who died before the end of the world?

To cover their problem they came up with purgatory. This speculative notion states that those who die before judgment day will have to hang out in some kind of limbo state until judgment day comes.

This would mean - after 2,000 years - that billions upon billions of people are floating around this limbo purgatory state. Where are they? And how are they floating around if their physical bodies are not decomposed? Is there a cave somewhere where literally hundreds of billions of people are waiting for judgment day? If so, why haven't any of the exploration teams - who have been drilling hundreds of miles deep and descending into caves and mines - found them?

The reason is that this state of purgatory is fiction. Yes, people do move on after the death of their physical bodies. But they move on to their next destination, depending upon their consciousness and activities within this lifetime.

Yes, each of us is judged at the end of this lifetime, and this judgment determines our next destination.

This means that judgment day occurs for each individual at the end of our physical lifetime.

This also defines "the end" - the end of our physical lifetimes, when our physical body dies and we leave it behind.

Or, a person may have chosen during their lifetime to follow Jesus' instructions and focus their lives upon learning to love and serve God. At the end of their physical lifetime such a person journeys home to the spiritual realm: This is the "gospel of the kingdom" Jesus is discussing in the above verse.

What does Jesus mean by 'then shall the end come'?

Rather than the end of the world, Jesus' statement above specifically refers to the "end" as being the time of death. The word being translated to "end" is the Greek word τέλος (telos). The lexicon defines τέλος as "termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be - always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time." This is the time of death. This is the moment when the body ceases to be alive, and the eternal spiritual being leaves the body.

Furthermore, Jesus was giving his disciples an instruction in this verse: The translation to "shall be preached" comes from the Greek word κηρύσσω (kēryssō), which means according to the lexicon, 'to herald,' 'to proclaim,' 'to publish'.

This translation "shall be preached" is worded in a third-person manner, but there is no substantiation for this. Jesus is speaking directly and privately with his disciples. He is instructing them. He is telling them he wants them to preach his teachings to others.

The translation to "whole world" is also translated quite liberally and out of context. The word "world" is being translated from οἰκουμένη (oikoumenē), which can mean 'world,' or 'Greek world' but primarily was used during those days to refer to the lands of the Roman empire: "the portion of the earth inhabited by the Greeks, in distinction from the lands of the barbarians;" or "the Roman empire, all the subjects of the empire."

So Jesus is not making some broad proclamation about Christian evangelists over a thousand years later traveling around the world to preach, followed by the end of the world coming. If this were true, then the world would have ended many centuries ago, after Christian preachers sailed around the world and violently converted many indigenous peoples to their sectarianism.

Rather, what is being communicated by Jesus to his disciples privately is the following of a simple but important instruction to his disciples. Here is a more appropriate translation of this verse from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"And the gospel of the sanctuary will be preached throughout the land as a witness to the people – and then your time of death will come." 
This translation is consistent with Jesus' teachings. Jesus was teaching a specific message that he wanted his disciples to pass on. His message was clear:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)