Matthew 10:23

by pixel 18 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • pixel

    "23 When they persecute ? YOU ? in one city, flee to another; for truly I say to ? YOU , Y OU ? will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives."

    Sounds to me plain and simply. They where fleeing and fleeing and the Son of man never arrived.

    What's your take?

  • Leolaia

    It's one of many statements that expected Judgment Day to occur within the lifetime of those who heard Jesus.

  • Theocratic Sedition
    Theocratic Sedition

    The fleed until they got enough numbers on their side to go from victim to victimizer.

  • pixel

    Thanks. Very interesting.

  • PSacramento

    If you take the context of chapter 10 in its whole and then read chapter 11, it can be viewed as the instructions and warnings of Jesus to his apostles and discilples before he sends them out.

    Of course, it does also sem to imply a prophetic view of the coming persecutions that they and other believers would endure after His death.

    So which are we do believe?

    One can argue that the writer of Matthew ( or at least the later editor and/or copiest) lived after Jesus death and during the early persecution of Jesus' followers ( as per ACTS), it seems logical that, since Jesus had NOT returned yet ( the greek version of GOM is dated to about 80-100 AD though some date the hebrew version ealier to the 50-75 AD range), that the writer/copiest didn't interpret it that way ( or He may have worded it different or perhaps even omitted it) and probably read it as instructions to the apostles before Jesus sent them out to preach His word.

    We may never know for sure but that some did beleive that Jesus would come in their lifetimes is true and that they wer eincorrect in that view is a fact.

  • Pterist

    NIV Study Bible Notes (1985 Edition)"The saying [Matthew 10:23] seems to teach that the gospel will continue to be preached to the Jews until Christ's second coming." (Matt 10:23)

    NIV Study Bible Notes (1995 Edition)Matthew 10:23: "Jesus' saying here is probably best understood as referring to his coming in judgment on the Jews when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in A.D. 70." (Matt 10:23)

    Preterist Commentaries By Futurists

    G.R. Beasley-Murray (1954)"Thus, from early times scholars have acknowledged that the saying has to do with the parousia of Jesus. Today the majority of scholars unhesitatingly adopt this viewpoint." (Jesus and the Kingdom of God, p. 286)

    The Four Gospels Commentary "When they persecute you in this city, flee into the next . The apostles were not to meet obduracy with obduracy. Moving as swiftly as they could along the line of least resistance, they would not be able to evangelize all the Jewish cities before the time set for their desolation--before the Son of man should come in the demonstration of his judicial power and destroy the Jewish nationality." (in loc.)

    Wayne Jackson (2003)
    "The most compelling position, in this writer’s judgment, is that argued by numerous respectable scholars (e.g., J.W. McGarvey, Albert Barnes, F.F. Bruce, D.A. Carson, R.C.H. Lenski, Theodor Zahn, W.W. How, J. Barton Payne, etc.), namely that the “coming” event of Matthew 10:23 is the Roman invasion of Palestine, which occurred in A.D. 66-70." (What is the Meaning of Matthew 10:23)

    Dr. Edward Robinson'The coming alluded to is the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation; and the meaning is, that the apostles would barely have time, before the catastrophe came, to go over the land warning the people to save themselves from the doom of an untoward generation; so that they could not well afford to tarry in any locality after its inhabitants had heard and rejected the message" ('The training of the Twelve, p. 117).

    Dr. Walter W. Wessell (1995)Matthew 10:23: "Jesus' saying here is probably best understood as referring to his coming in judgment on the Jews when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in A.D. 70." (Matt 10:23,NIV Study Bible Notes, p. 1453)

    Preterist Commentaries By Historicist / Continuists

    Albert Barnes (1832)"Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, &c. That is, in fleeing from persecutors from one city to another, you shall not have gone to every city in Judea till the end of Jewish economy shall come." (in loc.)

    Geneva Bible Notes (1599)10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have {i} gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

    (i) Bring to an end, that is, you will not have gone through all the cities of Israel and preached in them. (in loc.)

    John Gill (1809)"ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, or "finished" them; that is, their tour through them, and their ministry, or the preaching of the Gospel in them,

    "till the son of man be come; either of his resurrection from the dead, when he was declared to be the Son of God, and when his glorification began; or of the pouring forth of the Spirit at the day of Pentecost, when his kingdom began more visibly to take place, and he was made, or manifested to be the Lord and Christ; or of his coming to take vengeance on his enemies, that would not have him to rule over them, and the persecutors of his ministers, at the destruction of Jerusalem." (in loc.)

    B.W. Johnson (1891)"Till the Son of man be come. A reference primarily, no doubt, to the Lord coming into his kingdom. See #Mt 16:28. He was thus to come in the life time of some of the apostles. He did thus come in the establishment of his kingdom in power on the day of Pentecost. He also came in judgment on the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem. This event ended Jewish persecution. There is also the final coming to judge the world, but the meaning here does not include that." (in loc.)

    C. Jonathan Seraiah "It is true that the "eschatology" of the New Testament is predominantly preterist. For those unfamiliar with the preterist perspective, it is the ancient view that many of the eschatological passages of the New Testament were fulfilled (completely) in the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. This view may sound novel, but in reality there have been orthodox adherents to it throughout church history (e.g., Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, John Lightfoot, John Owen, Milton Terry, Jay Adams). This interpretation does not deny the Final Coming of Christ; it merely finds that not all "coming" passages refer to that event. The preterist interpretation is actually the most faithful to the biblical text because it recognizes that Old Testament prophetic terminology was used by the New Testament authors. This recognition is helpful in distinguishing the prophecies of Christ's coming that were near, in the first century (Matt. 10:23; 16:28; 24:30; 26:64; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 1:7; James 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev. 1:3, 7; etc.) and thus fulfilled in a.d. 70, from those that were far (John 5:28-29; Acts 1:11; 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:23-24; 1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Jn. 3:2; etc.) and thus not yet fulfilled even in our day. It also helps to distinguish between a spiritual "coming" (invisible for temporal judgment, as in a.d. 70) and a physical coming (visible for eternal judgment)." (End of All Things)

    Philip SchaffThe Second Advent of Christ "This being so, then the words relating to a personal return of Jesus are to be taken as pointing to the Destruction of Jerusalem (Mat. x.23; xvi.28)."

    John Wesley (1754)"Till the Son of man be come - To destroy their temple and nation." (in loc.)

    Preterist Commentaries from Modern Preterism

    Bishop Pearce"I say unto you; ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come, i. e. the gospel would not be particularly and fully preached to the cities of Israel, before the ruin of the Jewish state, and his taking vengeance on it" (Observations on the Whole Bible, in loc.)

  • PSacramento


    Good points. The "son of man" event is synonimous with a "life altering event" for "corporate Israel".

    While it CAN be read as hinting to the second coming, it probably was referring to the clamatic events of 70 AD.

    That many followeres beleived the the end would come in their lifetime is also true.

    They just didn't get WHAT that "end" was.

  • Pterist

    Yes, there are several "appearance/presence" of Christ in the NT without it being the final return, E.G. Paul and Stephen. Also at the destruction of Jerusalem as follows:

    Matthew 26:64. Jesus told him, "You said it. I am telling you then, that henceforth you shall see the Son of Man sitting from the right of the Power and coming over the clouds of heaven." (Aramaic Bible)


    Josephus (A.D. 75) - Jewish Historian"Besides these [signs], a few days after that feast, on the one- and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence" (Jewish Wars, VI-V-3).

    “A supernatural apparition was seen, too amazing to be believed. What I am now to relate would, I imagine, be dismissed as imaginary, had this not been vouched for by eyewitnesses, then followed by subsequent disasters that deserved to be thus signalized. For before sunset chariots were seen in the air over the whole country, and armed battalions speeding through the clouds and encircling the cities.” (rendered in Chilton)

    Tacitus (A.D. 115) - Roman historian "13. Prodigies had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world." (Histories, Book 5, v. 13).

  • John Kesler
    John Kesler

    Aside from the fact that Matthew 10:23 anticipates the return the "Son of Man" in the lifetime of Jesus' hearers, the promise that this would occur before the apostles had "gone through all the towns of Israel" conflicts with Matthew 24:14, which says that, "this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come."

  • Leolaia

    The "Son of Man" event expected in the synoptic gospels and the Book of Parables does not correspond to what occurred in AD 70. In fact, this is probably why the gospel of Matthew, written later than Mark, revises the Olivet discourse to distinguish the parousia from the destruction of the Temple and to emphasize a theme of apparent delay in the fulfillment of "all these things", as Christians were still waiting for them to be fulfilled for quite some time after AD 70.

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