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Matthew 24:27

"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."


Preterist Commentaries

W.E. Vine
"lit., "a presence," para, "with," and ousia, "being" (from eimi, "to be"), denotes both an "arrival" and a consequent "presence with." For instance, in a papyrus letter a lady speaks of the necessity of her parousia in a place in order to attend to matters relating to her property there. Paul speaks of his parousia in Philippi, Phil 2:12 (in contrast to his apousia, "his absence"...Other words denote "the arrival"...Parousia is used to describe the presence of Christ with His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, 2Pet. 1:16. When used of the return of Christ, at the rapture of the church, it signifies, not merely his momentary "coming" for His saints, but His presence with them from that moment until His revelation and manifestation to the world. In some passages the word gives prominence to the beginning of that period, the course of the period being implied, 1 Cor. 15:23; 1Thess. 4:15...In some, the course is prominent, Matt. 24:3, 37...in others the conclusion of that period, Matt 24:27..."  ( Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words p. 111)

 

Preterist Commentaries By Historicist / Continuists

Albert Barnes (1832)
"The coming of the Son of man. It has been doubted whether this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, or to the coming at the day of judgment. For the solution of this doubt, let it be remarked,

(1.) that those two events are the principal scenes in which our Lord said he would come, either in person or in judgment.
(2.) That the destruction of Jerusalem is described as his coming, his act, for their great crimes.
(3.) That these events--the judgment of Jerusalem and the final judgment --in many respects greatly resemble each other.
(4.) That they will bear, therefore, to be described in the same language. And,
(5.) therefore, that the same words often include both events, as properly described by them. The words, therefore, had doubtless a primary reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, but such an amplitude of meaning as also to express his coming to judgment.

Verse 28. Wheresoever, etc. The words in this verse are proverbial. Vultures and eagles easily ascertain where dead bodies are, and come to devour them. So with the Roman army. Jerusalem is like a dead and putrid corpse. Its life is gone, and it is ready to be devoured. The Roman armies will find it out, as the vultures do a dead carcass, and will come around it, to devour it.

This verse is connected with the preceding by the word "for," implying that this is a reason for what is said there, that the Son of man would certainly come to destroy the city, and that he would come suddenly. The meaning is, he would come by means of the Roman armies, as certainly, as suddenly, and as unexpectedly, as whole flocks of vultures and eagles, though unseen before, suddenly find their prey, see it at a great distance, and gather in multitudes around it. Travellers in the deserts of Arabia tell us that they sometimes witness a speck in the distant sky, which for a long time is scarcely visible. At length, it grows larger; it comes nearer; and they at last find that it is a vulture, that has from an immense distance seen a carcass lying on the sand. So keen is their vision, and so aptly does this represent the Roman armies, though at an immense distance, yet spying, as it were, Jerusalem, a putrid carcass, and hastening in multitudes to destroy it.

Verse 30. The sign of the Son of man. The evidence that Christ is coming to destroy the city of Jerusalem. It is not to be denied, however, that this description is applicable also to his coming at the day of judgment. The disciples had asked him, Matthew 24:3 what should be the sign of his coming, and of the end of the world. In his answer, he has reference to both events, and his language may be regarded as descriptive of both. At the destruction of Jerusalem, the sign or evidence of his coming was found in the fulfillment of these predictions.

All the tribes of the earth mourn. This is, either all the tribes or people of the land of Judea shall mourn at the great calamities coming upon them, or all the nations of the world shall wail when He comes to judgment. All the wicked shall mourn at the prospect of their doom, Revelation 1:7.

And they shall see the Son of man. The Lord Jesus coming to judgment. Probably this refers more directly to his coming at the last day, though it may also mean that the evidence of his coming to destroy Jerusalem shall then be seen.

With power. Power, manifest in the destruction of Jerusalem, by the wonders that preceded it, and by the overturning of the temple and city. "

Stafford North (1991)
"
Jesus next explains events which "following immediately" after what He has just described.  Since we are still before verse 34 and since these events happen immediately after those which so clearly apply to the destruction of Jerusalem, we must conclude that the figurative language in verses 29-31 must refer to events which happened immediately after the fall of Jerusalem.

Eight events are listed: (1) the sun shall be darkened, (2) the moon shall not give her light, (3) the heavens shall be shaken, (4) the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, (5) the sign of the Son of Man in heaven shall appear, (6) all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, (7) they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, and (8) He shall send forth his angels to gather the elect from the four winds.

Some expressions among these eight might, at first, seem to apply to Jesus' second coming.  But because of "immediately" and "this generation" we must ask if all of the eight can apply to what happened soon after the fall of Jerusalem.  As we shall see, the answer is, "They can" (Armageddon Again? A Reply to Hal Lindsey, Oklahoma City, OK: Author, 1991, p. 7-10)

Stanley Paher (1996)
"Verse 27 declares that the coming of the Son of man would be as lightning flash: "For as the lightning cometh forth from the east and is seen even unto the west so shall be the coming of the son of man."  This His presence would be felt all over.  The "coming" is a presence, as in verse 24:3, denoting Jesus' divine visitation, which was fulfilled in the approach of the swift demonstration of power, pointing to the suddenness of events prior to Jerusalem's destruction.

Once again, Jesus employed apocalyptic language in Jewish prophetic style, even as Isaiah did in describing a victory by Yahweh over Assyria (30:30-31).  In Zechariah 9:14, Jehovah's influence would go forth as lightning.  The coming of the Son of man (v. 27) similarly pointed to a temporal judgment, this time of corrupt Jerusalem in A.D. 70." (Matthew 24: First Century Fulfillment; Las Vegas, NV: Nevada Publications, pp. 127-128)

"The phrase 'coming of the Son of man' in verse 27 is rendered in Luke 17:24, 'so shall the Son of man be in His day."  These parallel statements show Christ to be present in vengeance against His Jewish contemporaries - of that generation - as emphatically stated in Luke 17:25.  Between Matthew's verses 27 and 28, Luke inserts additional remarks about the suddenness of destruction and calamity.  The narratives reunite at Matthew 24:28 and Luke 17:37, both of which tell of the eagles and the carcass."  (ibid., p. 128)
 

Preterist Commentaries from Modern Preterism

 

Kenneth L. Gentry (1999)
"Jesus warns His followers that He will not appear bodily in the first-century judgment (vv. 23-26).  Nevertheless, He will "come" in judgment like a destructive lightening bolt against Jerusalem (v.27).  This coming, however, is a providential judgment coming, a Christ-directed judgment, rather than a miraculous, visible, bodily coming.

J. Marcellus Kik (1971)
"This verse stands in contrast to the previous verses, for it speaks of Christ's second coming rather than his invisible coming in judgment upon Jerusalem." (An Eschatology of Victory, (NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1971, p. 124)

Gary DeMar (1999)
"Is the "coming of the Son of Man" in Matthew 24:37 different in time and kind from the "coming of the Son of Man" in verses 27 and 30?  There is no indication that Jesus is describing two comings separated by an indeterminate period of time.  What would have led the disciples to conclude that Jesus was describing a coming different from the one He described moments before when He uses identical language to describe both of them?" (Last Days Madness, 4th rev., pp. 199-200)

Kenneth L. Gentry (1999)
"Jesus warns His followers that He will not appear bodily in the first-century judgment (vv. 23-26).  Nevertheless, He will "come" in judgment like a destructive lightening bolt against Jerusalem (v.27).  This coming, however, is a providential judgment coming, a Christ-directed judgment, rather than a miraculous, visible, bodily coming.

Nor is the coming as lightening in Matthew 24:27 a publicly visible, physical coming.  Rather, it is a judgment coming against those who call down Jesus' blood upon them and their children (v.25).  The Lord here speaks about His judgment coming against Jerusalem (see 23:37-24:2) as analogous to "the lightening [that] comes from the east, and flashes even to the west."  As I begin to interpret the passage, remember that the local context demands this coming occur in "this generation" (24:34), having reference to the destruction of the temple.

The direction of this judgment coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27 apparently reflects the Roman armies marching toward Jerusalem from an easterly direction.  Josephus' record of the march of the Roman armies through Israel shows they wreak havoc on Jerusalem by approaching it from the east." (The Great Tribulation: Past or Future?, MI: Kregel, 1999,  p. 53-54; cf. Josephus' Wars 4:8:1; 4:9:1)

J. Marcellus Kik (1971)
"Not only were the disciples forewarned about false Christs abut Jesus informs them that when he does come a second time it will be no local event.  It will be a universal coming seen by all.  This verse stands in contrast to the previous verses, for it speaks of Christ's second coming rather than his invisible coming in judgment upon Jerusalem." (An Eschatology of Victory, (NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1971, p. 124)

John Lightfoot (1889)
27. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  [For as the lightning, &c.] To discover clearly the sense of this and the following clauses, those two things must be observed which we have formerly given notice of:--

1. That the destruction of Jerusalem is very frequently expressed in Scripture as if it were the destruction of the whole world, Deuteronomy 32:22; "A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell" (the discourse there is about the wrath of God consuming that people; see verses 20,21), "and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." Jeremiah 4:23; "I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light," &c. The discourse there also is concerning the destruction of that nation, Isaiah 65:17; "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered," &c. And more passages of this sort among the prophets. According to this sense, Christ speaks in this place; and Peter speaks in his Second Epistle, third chapter; and John, in the sixth of the Revelation; and Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:17, &c.

2. That Christ's taking vengeance of that exceeding wicked nation is called Christ's "coming in glory," and his "coming in the clouds," Daniel 7. It is also called, "the day of the Lord." See Psalm 1:4; Malachi 3:1,2, &c.; Joel 2:31; Matthew 16:28; Revelation 1:7, &c. See what we have said on chapter 12:20; 19:28.

The meaning, therefore, of the words before us is this: "While they shall falsely say, that Christ is to be seen here or there: 'Behold, he is in the desert,' one shall say; another, 'Behold, he is in the secret chambers': he himself shall come, like lightning, with sudden and altogether unexpected vengeance: they shall meet him whom they could not find; they shall find him whom they sought, but quite another than what they looked for." (Lightfoot, vol. 2, p. 319).

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