Matthew 24 Verse By Verse

by Nate Merit 33 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • peacefulpete

    Interesting, I think I heard somehting of that suggestion before. Perhaps I should not suggest the Jersalem and multinational judgment elements be later layer. These elements still work within the overall framework of using apocalypitc language to teach the secret truth of the mysterious kingdom. The recent events of 70 would add poignancy to the parable. The recurring theme of a generation lacking understanding of parables and mysteries of the Kingdom is voiced to the reader, "You get the meaning of this story right?" Maybe I am finally.

  • Leolaia

    Shining One....Limiting the reference to just the end of the Jewish sacerdotal system in AD 70 doesn't wash. Again, to reiterate the main points, v. 34 says that "this generation," the generation of Jesus, will not pass away until ALL THESE THINGS occur....which includes the entirety of what is narrated in v. 4-33, and there is nothing in what happened in AD 66-70 that corresponds to the highly visible coming of the Son of Man described in v. 27-31, which included the worldwide lamenting of "all the nations of the earth" at the Lord's coming (v. 30), and the gathering of the elect "from the four winds", events that are described elsewhere in Matthew, which show that this coming and gathering is for eschatological judgment. These are not simply "coincidental" uses of the same language to refer to a completely different event; ch. 25 directly follows ch. 24 and continues the thought of the previous chapter. Moreover, the whole discourse is designed not simply to discuss the destruction of the Temple but "the sign of your coming" and the "end of the age"...this can only be the coming that ushers in the Last Judgment as ch. 25 describes, and certainly "ends" the age by bringing about "eternal punishment" and the rewarding of "eternal life" (v. 46).

  • Shining One
    Shining One

    Hi Leolaia,

    Thank you for your input and research. Perhaps I can show you what I am driving at below...

    Partial preterists see the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 fulfilling Jesus prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem.

    In Mat 23:35-36 just before the Olivet discourse in Mat 24 Jesus says that revenge for the righteous blood of the prophets shed in Jerusalem would "come upon this generation" (verse 36), meaning the generation that Jesus is speaking to.

    Mat 23:35-36 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

    In Luke 23:28 Jesus said "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children" indicating that destruction would come upon them and their children.

    Jesus prophecies about Jerusalem

    Mat 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 record a prophecy that Jesus made about the destruction of the temple which was fulfilled in AD 70.

    (Mat 24:1-2 NIV) Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. {2} "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

    (Jesus gave other prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, which are given below.) As Jesus approached Jerusalem for the last time (for no prophet can die outside Jerusalem).

    (Luke 19:41-44 NIV) As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it {42} and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. {43} The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. {44} They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

    As Jesus was on the way towards the cross, Simon from Cyrene carried the cross behind Jesus and many people followed him including women who mourned and wailed for him.

    (Luke 23:28-31 NIV) Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. {29} For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' {30} Then "'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"' {31} For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

    Jesus says that this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world (Mat 23:34-36, Luke 11:49-51). Note, it is only this generation, and not all subsequent generations.

    (Mat 23:34-36 NIV) Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. {35} And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. {36} I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

    (Luke 11:49-51 NIV) Because of this, God in his wisdom said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.' {50} Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, {51} from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

    In the parable of the landowner who planted a vineyard, Jesus is talking about how the Jews beat and killed God's prophets and finally they killed God's Son.

    (Mat 21:33-45 NIV) "Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. {34} When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. {35} "The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. {36} Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. {37} Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said. {38} "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' {39} So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. {40} "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" {41} "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time." {42} Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? {43} "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. {44} He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." {45} When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them.

    Let's talk about the Great Distress of Mat 24:21: the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70

    Although the period of great distress in Mat 24:21 is usually thought to be world-wide and to occur at the end of the age a closer look demonstrates otherwise.

    Luke's parallel account (21:20-24) clearly shows that Mat 24:21 refers to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70

    It is local to the region of Judea- it is not worldwide, because those in Judea are told to flee to the mountains in all three parallel accounts (Mat 24:16, Mark 13:14, Luke 21:21).

    >>>The fact that Jesus says that it is "never to be equaled again" should indicate to us that it does not occur at the end of the world.

    Greg L. Bahnsen of the Southern California Center for Christian Studies. David Chilton: He adopted hyper-preterism, (a.k.a. full or complete perterism) a particular belief about end time events. He was basically ostracized from the Christian Reconstruction camp afterwards. Gary DeMar, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Gary North of the Institute for Christian Economics. He is a prolific author. Larry Pratt: head of the Gun Owners of America and English First, a group opposed to non-English speaking immigrants and bilingual education. Author of "Armed People Victorious" which documents Guatemalan and Philippine militias and para-military death squads. He was campaign co-chair of the Buchanan presidential campaign in 1996. John Quade, Rousas John Rushdoony of the Chalcedon Foundation is often considered the founder of Christian Reconstructionism. Author of Institutes of Biblical Law. Rev. Andrew Sandlin.

    I don't endorse these guys but some of their views on eschatology makes sense.


  • Leolaia

    Here is a comparison of Mark 13 and 4 Ezra, suggesting that possibly both derive from a common apocalyptic source:

    Mark 134 Ezra

    "Tell us, when is this going to happen, and what sign will there be that all this is about to be fulfilled [and the end of the age, Matthew 24:3]?" (v. 4).

    "How long and when will these things be?" (4:33). "Concerning the signs about which you ask me, I can tell you in part" (5:52). "What will be the dividing of the times? Or when will the end of the first age and the beginning of the age that follows" (6:7). "You have now shown me a multitude of signs which you will do in the last times, but you have not shown when you will do them" (8:63).
    "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, this is something that must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (v. 7-8a)."You will hear a full resounding voice, ... do not be terrified, for the word concerns the end" (6:14). "They shall plan to make war against one another, city against city, place against place, people against people, and kingdom against kingdom" (13:31).
    "There will be earthquakes here and there; there will be famines. This is the beginning of the birthpangs" (v. 8b-c).

    "If the place where you are standing is greatly shaken while the voice is speaking, do not be terrified" (6:14). "There shall appear in the world earthquakes, tumult of peoples, intrigues of nations" (9:3). "Just as a woman who is in travail makes haste to escape the pangs of birth..." (5:42).

    "Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death" (v. 12)

    "The man who stands firm to the end will be saved" (v. 13).

    "When you see the disastrous abomination set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must escape to the mountains" (v. 14).

    "Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!" (v. 16).

    "If the Lord had not shortened the time, no one would have survived; but he did shorten the time, for the sake of the elect whom he chose" (v. 20).

    "The sun will be darkened, the moon will loose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken" (v. 24-25).

    "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven" (v. 26-27). "And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet" (Matthew 24:31).

    "At that time friends shall make war on friends like enemies" (6:24).

    "O Lord, you have charge of those who are alive at the end" (5:41). "Whoever remains after all that I have foretold to you shall be saved" (6:25). "And everyone who has been delivered from the evils that I have foretold shall see my wonders" (7:27).

    "An innumerable multitude shall be gathered together, as you saw, desiring to conquer [the Messiah], but he will stand on the top of Mount Zion" (13:34-35).

    "Menstruous women shall bring forth monsters" (5:8). "Women with child shall give birth to premature children at three or four months" (6:21).

    "You do not hasten faster than the Most High, for your haste is for yourself, but the Most High hastens on the behalf of many... It is on our behalf that the time of threshing is delayed for the sake of the righteous" (5:34, 39).

    "The sun shall suddenly shine forth at night, and the moon during the day, blood shall drip from wood, and the stone shall utter its voice; the peoples shall be troubled, and the stars shall fall" (5:4-5).

    "The trumpet will sound aloud" (6:23). "For my son the Messiah shall be revealed with those who are with him" (7:28). "I looked and saw a man coming out of the heart of the sea ... flying with the clouds of heaven. ... And after this I saw an innumerable multitude of men who were gathered together from the four winds of heaven" (13:3, 5).

  • Leolaia

    Rex...Yes, I am well aware that the eschatological discourse had the expected destruction of the Temple as a primary focus, and that Matthew and Luke applied the discourse in part to the events of AD 70, but again this does not mean that the oracle concerns only happenings local to Judea as they occurred in AD 70 and not a subsequent worldwide judgment shortly afterward, for this is what the text states, and attempts to circumvent its plain meaning are unconvincing. You say, for instance, that "it is local to the region of Judea, it is not worldwide, because those in Judea are told to flee to the mountains in all three parallel accounts," but this is argued on the flawed a priori premise that the text must only refer to the local context when it does in fact refer first to events within Judea (v. 15-18), but the scope then widens to all of humanity, thus "no human being would be saved" if the tribulation would continue (v. 22), and the universality of the Son of Man's coming is signalled in v. 27-28 (visible like lightning from east to west, and present "wherever the body is"), and then when the Son of Man comes, "all the tribes of the earth" will mourn (again a universal, not local event!), and such an event is not known to have occurred in the first century, with everyone seeing "the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (v. 30), and finally the universality of this event is again expressed by stating that the angels will then "gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (v. 31), again not a local event within Judea itself. As the essay by Mark Smith points out, the discourse does not admit partition into a portion that was "fulfilled" in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and another portion that remains to be fulfilled at the second coming; it states point blank that "all these things" are to happen before "this" generation passes away, i.e. by the end of the first century. Similar statements on the immediacy of the coming of the Son of Man in glory occur elsewhere in Matthew. The preterist view is fatally flawed because it requires that v. 29-31 did occur, but invisibly or in a spiritual way which contradicts the text itself (which states that the people of all nations will see the sign of the Son of Man and mourn in response to it), but it is equally wrong to set apart these verses (and the other allusions to the Last Judgment) and expect them to apply to a far-off time separated from the first century. The implication of the text, when read straightforwardly, is that Jerusalem will be desolated and shortly afterward the end of the world will come for "all tribes of the earth".

  • Satanus

    Leo said

    The implication of the text, when read straightforwardly, is that Jerusalem will be desolated and shortly afterward the end of the world will come for "all tribes of the earth".

    While i don't argue w tha basic premise, seeing the heavy antigentile bias of the jews at that time, the following quotes are likely pointing towards jews, not gentiles. Jews considered themselves more human, more in touch w god than the unclean ones, the surrounding gentiles.

    angels will then "gather his elect from the four winds,
    "all the tribes of the earth"
    scope then widens to all of humanity, thus "no human being would be saved"

    Humanity = jews

    Tribes = the 12 tribes It does leave open the possiblity of it meaning that the surrounding gentiles would beat themselves when they beheld the jewish messiah coming in the clouds. Not that that happened, of course.


  • Leolaia

    Satanus....I agree with you to some extent, that the theme of the final regathering of Israel at the end times may indeed lie behind this passage in whatever original Jewish apocalypse it derives from. Thus the passage itself mentions the gathering of the "elect" and not all of humanity, tho the elect is gathered from all corners of the earth. This is in accord with the views in Psalms of Solomon 17:26-30, Testament of Asher 7:3-7, Testament of Benjamin 9:2, and 4 Ezra 13:29-41, 46-49. The present text in Matthew however is Christianized to refer to all those residing throughout the world who are of the "elect", i.e. who follow Christ. Matthew 25:31-32, on the other hand, refers to the gathering of "all the nations (panta ta ethné)", which necessarily refers to all Gentile nations, and there are other apocalyptic traditions that refer to a final gathering of nations (cf. "The twelve tribes will be gathered together and all the nations" in Testament of Benjamin 9:2, and 4 Ezra 13:29-41), and especially a gathering of all humanity (dead and alive) for final judgment (1 Enoch 1:9, 45:3-6, 100:4-9, Sibylline Oracles 4:178-192, 4 Ezra 7:32-42, Revelation 20:12-15, Apocalypse of Peter [Ethiopic]). As for the reference to "all the tribes of the earth" in Matthew 24:30, this is identical to the language in Revelation 1:7 which similarly has a scope beyond that of Israel....referring to everyone seeing Jesus returning and lamenting:

    "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn (kopsontai pasai hai phulai tés gés), and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds (erkhemenon epi tón nephalón) of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).
    "Behold, he is coming with the clouds (erkhetai meta tón nephalón), and every eye will see him, everyone who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail (kopsontai pasai hai phulai tés gés) on account of him" (Revelation 1:7).

    My point in raising these texts, btw, is to emphasize that the scope of Matthew 24 is not limited to Judah but universal in scope when the events culminate in the Son of Man's coming in judgment on the earth.

  • Nate Merit
    Nate Merit

    Dear Michelle

    You "get it." No one ever was or ever will be converted to conservative Christianity via argumentation. Someone who actually lives and breathes the fruits of the Holy Spirit is worth ten billion debaters. Yet, its so much simpler to become a good debater than to live the life of the Spirit, that most conservative Christians opt for polishing their debating skills and becoming nasty. Thank you for not following in their footsteps.

    Love to you to dear one.

  • Nate Merit
    Nate Merit

    Hello Shakita

    I was introduced to Preterism 25 years ago. It hasn't improved with age. Granted, its a huge improvement over the dispensational literalist quease usually vomited forth on this topic, but in the end it too is overly literal. Read what Leolaia and Peaceful Pete have to say on this subject.

    Mark Smith has also written some devastating critiques of preterism on hios web-site. -Nathan

    [ Back ] [ Homepage ] [ Up ] [ Next ] Set Free Table of Contents What's New


    Preterism is a last-ditch attempt by some super-fundy Christians to save their savior from his own false prophecies. In a nutshell, it claims that the Second Coming prophecies within the New Testament were fulfilled (invisibly) within the first century, thus presto-chango! No more false prophet!

    Table of Contents

    Last Days Madness
    Figurative Language to The Rescue
    Pieces of The Preterist Puzzle Protrude Profusely
    Responses to Jesus The False Prophet (look here for responses to this Preterism page also)

  • Nate Merit
    Nate Merit

    Thank you Leo.

    I cut and pasted your reponses and sent them to Mark.


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