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Matthew 24

By Homer Hailey (Wiki)
From THE PRECEPTOR, April 1964

In describing the coming judgment upon His people and the ushering in His righteousness and salvation. God describes the passing of the order as a passing of heaven and earth.

Often the question is asked, "Where, in Matthew 24, does the teaching concerning the destruction of Jerusalem end and the thought of the second coming (His ultimate coming) begin?" I am not sure that the ultimate coming of Jesus is considered in this chapter. I believe that the Lord is concerned only with the destruction of the temple,, and that in w. 45-51 He introduces a principle of watchfulness which is to characterize the Christian at all times, and then moves into His ultimate coming in chapter 25. Here are the reasons for this view;

The Question

When shown the temple and its buildings by the disciples, Jesus answered. "See ye not all these things" verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (v. 2) This brought forth the question from the disciples, "Tell us when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (v. 3) This poses the question;. Do the disciples here ask two questions, one concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the other concerning His final coming? or, one question of two parts, concerning the destruction of the temple, and His coming to bring to an end the Jewish age? The first. When shall these things be? definitely refers to the destruction of the temple. The other demands our consideration.

Two expressions need defining: "thy coming," and "the end of the world." The word "coming" is from parousia. which may be translated "presence" or "coming." Paul used the word of himself in a quotation from the Corinthians, "but his bodily presence (parousia) is weak" (2 Cor. 10:10); and to the Philippians, "through my presence (parousia) with you again." (Phil. 1:26); and again, "not as in my presence (parousia) only (Phil. 2:12). When used of Jesus, the word usually refers to what we term the "second coming," i.e.. His final coming, but not always. After having warned the rich of "the miseries that are coming upon you," and of the cry of the poor that had entered into the ear of the Lord of Saboath, James says: "Be patient therefore, my brethren, until the coming (parousia) of the Lord." (Jas. 5:7. The word, "therefore" introduces that which follows, in its relation to that of which he had just spoken. He then continues, "Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming (parousia) of the Lord is at hand... Behold the judge standeth before the doors." (w 8-9).

That this has reference to the coming of the Lord in judgment against the wicked rich, and not His final coming, is evident from the context. James says of this coming, that it is "at hand." engiken, The same word; used by John of the kingdom (Matt. 3:2), which appeared within a short time. Paul said, of the ultimate coming of the Lord, that it was not just at hand (1 Thes. 2:1-2).

Therefore, the coming spoken of by James could not be the second coming.

The meaning of the word "coming" must be determined by the context.   The expression, "end of the world," indicates the "end of the age." it could refer to the end of the present age, which takes place at Christ's second coming, or it could refer to the end of the Jewish age. The complete end of the practice of temple worship came with the destruction of Jerusalem; but which meaning is to be attributed to the expression must be determined by the context,, or parallel passages.

The point seems to be conclusively settled by the parallel statements in Mark and Luke. These are: Matthews's account, "What shall be the sign of they coming, and the end of the world." Mark's account, "What shall be the sign when these things are all about to be accomplished?" (13:4) and Luke records the saying as: "And what shall be the sign when these things are about to come to pass?" (21:7). Therefore Matthew's "thy coming and the end of the world," is Mark's "these things are about to be accomplished," and Luke's, "these things are about to come to pass." All of these point back to the destruction of the temple. That which we think of as the "second coming of Jesus" is not in the passage,

"This Generation"

The position is further confirmed by Jesus' explanation of His coming (parousia) as lightning from east to west (v. 27) in relation to the coming of the Romans, (w. 15-26). He describes the darkness of these days in language of the prophets, (w. 29-30). Isaiah had used similar language in speaking of the destruction of Babylon. (Isa. 13:9-13), Likewise when Jesus said, "They shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (v. 30), He was using the figure Jehovah had used of Himself when He said, "The burden of Egypt, Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt." (Isa. 19:1). This would be a judgment of Jehovah as He would bring an army of destruction into Egypt. So jesus would come, riding upon a cloud of judgment, bringing the Romans against Jerusalem. Jesus further declared His reference to Jerusalem when He said, "This generation shall not pass away, till these things be accomplished." (v. 34). This definitely fixes all that goes before 34 as pertaining to that generation.

It is usually thought that after this verse Jesus begins to speak of the "second coming." This does not necessarily follow. The expression, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (v. 35) is a further use of prophetic language to describe the passing of an order. In describing the coming judgment upon His people and the ushering in His righteousness and salvation. God describes the passing of the order as a passing of heaven and earth. "Lift up your eyes to heaven, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke,, and the earth shall was old like a garment: and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished." (Isa. 51:6) It is in this vein that Jesus speaks of the passing of heaven and earth, and of His word holding fast.

The Lord then describes this coming in judgment and destruction of Jerusalem as being unlocked for as was the flood in the day of Noah, saying, "And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming (parousia) of the Son of man." (v. 37), the same expression as in w. 3 and 27. After describing these days, he adds, "so shall be the corning (parousia) of the Son of man." (v. 39). The Lord then describes how one shall be taken, and another left. (w. 40-41). A comparison of Luke 17:23 with Matt. 24:23, and Luke 17:24 with Matt 24:27, indicates that Luke is, in his paragraph, speaking of the revealing of the Son of man in the destruction of Jerusalem, which would completely reveal the kingdom of God. He then used the days of Noah as did Matthew, There seems to be nothing in the passage (Matt. 24) to indicate any consideration of His second coming, but everything to indicate that He is speaking throughout of the coming judgment and destruction of the temple. -

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Date: 27 Apr 2006
Time: 07:17:15

Comments:

So close but yet so far. This is a great piece that shows how preconceptions can keep one from seeing the whole truth. Homer makes great arguments for the totality of the Parousia at 70 AD but then won't allow himself to believe it, still looking for an "ultimate" coming sometime in the future.

I do like his points about the coming at 70 and will be using them myself in defense of preterism and the truth of the Established Eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ!

Bill K.


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