Did Jesus divide His Olivet Discourses between two subjects and separate their fulfillment by thousands of years? If so, how or when?
TRANSITION TEXT THEORY
TWO 18TH CENTURY VIEWS OF THE QUESTION:
MATTHEW 24 – DISSERTATIONS
A.D.70-Primary / Future-Secondary
THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
A.D.70 an Undivided Look at AD70
“…the whole of the xxivth of Matthew, and particularly the 36th and following verses, relate solely to the destruction of Jerusalem, exclusively of a second coming, and of the end of the world.” (Nisbett, p.131)
FROM PDF BIBLIOGRAPHY:
- 1754: Thomas Newton, The Prophecy of Matthew 24
- 1805: Beilby Porteus, Lectures on Matthew, V1 | V2 | Two Volumes in One
- 1811: William Mason, An Examination of the Prophecies of Matthew 24
- 1830: Hermann Olshausen, Commentary on Matthew 24
- 1831: James A. Begg, Matthew 24: Second Coming is Personal and Near at Hand
- 1997: Paul Ray, Exegesis of Matthew 24:21–35: “This Generation”
and the Structure of Matthew 23–25
- 1999: Stephen Staten, The Greatest Story Never Told, Fulfillment of Matthew 24:1-35
- 2005: Neil Nelson, Three Critical Exegetical Issues in Matthew 24: A Dispensational Interpetation
- 2008: Kenneth Morgan, The Structure of the Olivet Discourse
- 2012: John F. Hart, A Defense of the Pretribulational Rapture in Matthew 24:36–44
- 2000: Ken Gentry, The Transition Text in Matthew 24 – An Answer to Full Preterism
- 2003: Randall Price, Historical Problems for a First Century Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse
MAIN ARTICLE COLLECTION
Typically Organized by Author’s First Name
Doug Wilson made the point that the years 30-70 AD were the overlapping of two ages, the Judaic (Old Covenant) age and the Christian (Church) age. He likened this transition to the passing of a baton between two runners
This 70-year section of time – the “hypothetical” earthly lifespan of Christ, so to speak – I see as a microcosm of the vast macrocosm of ALL humans, potentially, and I coined this way of seeing it as the “anthropic view of eschatology”.
Not only does the distinction of two events separated by a long interval of time seem difficult to justify, but it also forces veritable feats of strength in the explanation of the parable of the fig tree and the words which follow.
One can see from these words that scriptural justification can be made for an application of “the great whore” to “the Jerusalem that now is”. Nor would it be too extreme to assign the judgment of “the great whore” and “that great city” to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus in 70AD
There is a sense in the New Testament that Christ’s work, even for our salvation, was not quite complete at the cross.
Addressing the Use of “Primary” and “Secondary” Natural Fulfillments of the Olivet Discourse to Point Away From AD70
the Olivet Discourse initially recaps Jesus’ prediction about Jerusalem’s temple, which was fulfilled in the first century, and then projects to the eschatological future
There are no verses in the New Testament that mention anything about a rebuilt temple and the reinstitution of the old covenant sacrificial system.
Given the connection the scriptures make between the law of Moses and sin/death, this understanding of a transition period for the changing of the covenants provided me a framework to understand how the eschatological resurrection could have occurred at the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 as it seemed Daniel 12 had clearly foretold.
And in what he says of his coming, he, evidently has respect to two things; his coming at the destruction of Jerusalem, and his coming at the end of the world.
Now, is it hermeneutically possible for identical terms or phrases to be applied to different events? As a matter of fact, it is not only possible, but quite common in human language and biblical revelation.
‘The temple construct will pass away, but my judgments in the world will not’
But none of our Saviour’s prophecies are more remarkable than those relating to the destruction of Jerusalem, as none are more proper and pertinent to the design of these discourses: and we will consider them as they lie in the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew, taking in also what is superadded by the other evangelists upon parallel occasions.
The reason the dispensational futurist is wrong is because his concept of the kingdom is wrong; the reason the “already-not-yet” interpreter is wrong is because his concept of the resurrection is wrong.
“When the Lord had finished all that related to Jerusalem, He came in the rest to His own coming, and gives them signs thereof, useful not for them only, but for us and for all who shall be after us.
As above, the Evangelist said, “In those days came John the Baptist,” [Matt 3:1] not implying immediately after what had gone before, but thirty years after; so here, when He says, “Then,” He passes over the whole interval of time between the taking of Jerusalem and the beginnings of the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 24:23, Golden Chain)
“Archbishop Tillotson, and Brennius, with many other learned interpreters, imagine, that our Lord here makes the transition from the destruction of Jerusalem, which had been the subject of his discourse thus far, to the general judgment; but I think, as it would be very harsh to suppose all the sufferings of the Jewish nation, in all ages, to be called the tribulation of those days” — [what occasion, by the by, for supposing the sufferings of the Jewish nation in all ages to be treated of at all ?] — “so it would, on the other hand, be equally so to say, that the general judgment, which probably will not commence till at least a thousand years after their restoration, will happen immediately after their sufferings ; nor can I find any one instance in which eutheos (immediately) is used in such a strange latitude. What is said below (in Matt. xxiv. 34, Mark xii. 30, and Luke xxi. 32,) seems also an insuperable objection against such an interpretation. I am obliged, therefore, to explain this section as in the paraphrase ; though I acknowledge many of the figures used may with more literal propriety be applied to the last day, to which there may be a remote, though not an immediate, reference.” (in loc.)
(On Matthew 24:36)
“I cannot agree with Dr. Clarke in referring this verse to the destruction of Jerusalem, the particular day of which was not a matter of great importance ; and as for the season of it, I see not how it could properly be said to be entirely unknown, after such an express declaration that it should be in that generation. It seems, therefore, much fitter, with Dr. Whitby, (after Grotius,) to explain it of the last day, when heaven and earth shall pass away.”
“Then shall two be in the field, may allusively be accommodated to the day of judgment, yet he doubts not they originally refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, to which alone they are properly applicable. I humbly conceive, that the grand transition, about which commentators are so much divided, and so generally mistaken, is made precisely after these two verses.”
Thomas Newton (1754)
“It is to me a wonder how any man can refer part of the foregoing discourse to the destruction of Jerusalem, and part to the end of the world, or any other distant event, when it is said so positively here in the conclusion, “All these things shall be fulfilled in this generation.” It seemeth as if our Saviour had been aware of some such misapplication of his words, by adding yet greater force and emphasis to his affirmation, v 35 – “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away’” (Newton, p. 426)
Rev. S. Noble
“‘It is related, in the first verse, that “Jesus went out and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple;” and it is added, in the second verse, that ” Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things ? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down.” First, then, let it be admitted, that these words apply, in their immediate reference, to the temple at Jerusalem and its destruction, which, as is known from the history of Josephus, was as total as is here implied. Let also the detailed prediction that follows, through the whole of this and the next chapters, be understood of the events connected with the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, as far as they can possibly be adapted to those occurrences. It is allowed, however, on all hands, that the whole cannot be so adapted : let then the place be pointed out where the new subject commences. But let this be done in such a manner as to be consistent with the fact, that a space of not much less than two thousand years, at least, was to intervene, between the accomplishment of the latter part of the prophecy and that of the former : for the first part of it is considered to have been fully accomplished about A. D. 70, and the remainder not to be accomplished yet: it is also to be recollected, that no events belonging to this intervening period are supposed to be treated of in the prophecy, but that, in whatever place the transition is made, it skips at once from the destruction of Jerusalem to the end of the world.
Of course, with these premises assumed, every reader will expect to perceive some well-defined mark of so great an hiatus. How will this expectation be answered ? So far from discovering any thing like it, no person can read the two chapters, and draw his inference from their contents alone, without concluding, that the events announced are to follow each other in succession, unbroken by any wide interruption whatever. Accordingly, though commentators are now generally agreed that the hiatus must exist, they are by no means unanimous in fixing its situation.
As before observed, the circumstances foretold, as far as the twenty-eighth verse of the twenty-fourth chapter, may, by having recourse, here and there, to figure, be applied to the calamities which befell the Jewish nation : what follows, respecting the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven, and his sending his angels with a great sound of a trumpet to gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other, does not, with equal convenience, admit this application : wherefore many eminent writers consider the prophecies relating to the Jews to terminate with the twenty-eighth verse, and all that follows to belong to the greater events commonly designated as the second coming of the Lord, and the general judgment on the world. Unfortunately, however, let both parts of the chapter denote what they may, they are connected together by the binding word “immediately:” — “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened,” &c., ” and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” Extreme violence, therefore, is done to the words, by those who thrust in, between the tribulation previously described, and this immediate appearing of the Son of man, an interval of two thousand years!
On this account, other eminent writers understand the appearing of the Son of man, and all the rest of the chapter, to be merely added in amplification of the previous subject; affirming, however, that “Jesus Christ intended that his disciples should consider the judgment he was going to inflict on the Jewish nation, as a forerunner and emblem of that universal judgment he is to exercise at the last day;” wherefore, they add, “he gives in the twenty-fifth chapter a description of the last judgment: ” [Beausobre and L’Enfant’s Note on Matt. xxv. 1. ] for which reasons, they place the grand hiatus between the two chapters. But, unhappily, a particle, the nature of which is to draw things into such close connection as admits of nothing being interposed between them, here also occurs. The divine prophet concludes the twenty-fourth chapter with describing the reward ‘which the faithful servant, and the punishment which the unfaithful, shall receive at his coming: and he commences the twenty-fifth chapter thus : ” Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.” Who cannot see that the parable of the ten virgins, “five of ‘whom were wise, and five were foolish,” is a continuation and further illustration of the subject introduced by the parable of the faithful and wicked servant — that both relate to the same series of events, and leave no room for supposing an interval of two thousand years between the one and the other ? And even if the subjects were not so obviously connected, what propriety would there be in passing from one event to another so distant, by such a copulative as then — a word that always denotes either identity of time, or immediate succession ? ‘
A third modification of the same general plan of interpretation has therefore been proposed by Dr. Doddridge. He adheres to the system of the hiatus, but he seems to have felt more strongly than some, the difficulties with which it is attended : Wherefore, in hopes to avoid them, he steers a middle course between the two theories already noticed. Let us see, then, what degree of probability he has been able to give to the scheme.” (p. 145-150)
Theophylact (11th-12th Cent.)
” After that the Lord had finished all that concerned Jerusalem, He now speaks of the coming of Antichrist, saying, “Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, to, he is there; believe him not.” But when He says, “then,” think not that it means immediately after these things are fulfilled about Jerusalem; as Matthew also says after the birth of Christ, “In those days came John the Baptist;” [Matt 3:1] does he mean immediately after the birth of Christ? No, but he speaks indefinitely and without precision. So also here, “then” may be taken to mean not when Jerusalem shall be made desolate, but about the time of the coming of Antichrist.” (Golden Chain, in loc.)
|First Part (Matt. 24:1-35)
End of Old Covenant Age
|Second Part (Matt. 24:36-25:46)
End of World
|Specific Signs||General Signs|
|Run away when it happens||Be ready at all times|
|Christ knows what and when||Christ did not know the time or hour|
|There are warning signs||It will happen unexpectedly|
|Abnormal times||Normal times: weddings, buying, selling|
|Judgment on earth||Judgment in heaven|
John A. Broadus (1886)
“Every attempt to assign a definite point between the two topics has proved a failure.” (An American Commentary on the New Testament p. 480)
Henry Cowles (1881)
“This passage is too closely connected with what immediately precedes and immediately follows, to be wrenched out of these connections and applied definitely to the final judgment” (Matthew and Mark: With Notes Critical, Explanatory, and Practical (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1881), 27)
Gary DeMar (2004)
“Toussaint and Price are willing to dismiss repeated references to an impending judgment by straining to find a single passage to bolster their argument that a pre-tribulational rapture, a rebuilt temple, and the reinstitution of Old Covenant Judaism during an earthly millennium remain to be fulfilled. ” (“Randall Price and the Transition Texts of Matthew 23:38-39”)
N. Nisbett (1787)
“But though the time was hastening on for the completion of our Lord’s prophecy of the ruin of the Jews; yet the exact time of this judgment, laid hid in the bosom of the Father. Verse 36. ‘Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.’ St. Mark has it: ‘Neither the Son, but the Father;’ but the sense is the same. Some men of great learning and eminence have thought that our Lord is here speaking, not of the destruction of Jerusalem, but of that more solemn and awful one of the day of judgment. But I can by no means think that the Evangelists are such loose, inaccurate writers, as to make so sudden and abrupt a transition, as they are here supposed to do; much less to break through the fundamental rules of good writing, by apparently referring to something which they had said before; when in reality they were beginning a new subject, and the absurdity of the supposition will appear more strongly, if it is recollected that the question of the disciples was, ‘When shall these things be?’ ‘Why,’ says our Saviour, ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only’” (pp. 38-39)
“To suppose, on the contrary, that these verses were intended to describe the final judgment of the world, is indeed violently to sever them from their manifest connection – not only with the preceding verses – but, as will presently appear, from the subsequent context; which, in the strongest terms which language can convey, asserts that all the things which he had before been describing, would be in that generation. It would be to violate all the rules of probability and just criticism and to charge the Evangelical Historians with such a confusion of ideas and such a perversion of language as would render them utterly unworthy of any regard; for, as the learned University Preacher has very justly observed – ‘whenever the same word is used in the same sentence – or in different sentences, not far distant from each other; we ought to interpret it precisely, in the same sense, unless either that sense should involve a contradiction of ideas – or the Writer expressly inform us that he repeats the word in a fresh acceptation.’” (Triumphs, p. 112)
“…the whole of the xxivth of Matthew, and particularly the 36th and following verses, relate solely to the destruction of Jerusalem, exclusively of a second coming, and of the end of the world.” (ibid., p.131)
John Humphrey Noyes
“What conceivable reason is there for supposing that the coming of the Son of man here alluded to, is not the same as that mentioned in the 42d verse —as also in the 39th, 37th, 30th, and 27th verses ? If there is a change of meaning here, the discourse is an egregious imposition ; for there is no change of language, and no hint of any change of meaning. From the 45th verse the remainder of the chapter stands in undeniable connection with what goes before, i. e., as we have seen, with the coming of Christ at the destruction of Jerusalem. The 25th chapter commences with—’ THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.’ This points directly back to the great event of the preceding chapter. The whole parable of the ten virgins therefore belongs to the discourse on the advent connected with the destruction of Jerusalem. This brings us to the 12th verse. The 13th verse is another repetition, almost word for word, of the 44th and 42d verses of the preceding chapter. There is not a shadow of authority for referring it to any event but that announced in Matt. 24: 27, 30, &c. The parable of the talents that follows, from the 14th to the 30th verses, is confessedly a sequel to the parable of the ten virgins, and belongs to the same train of thought. We are sure, then, that all that goes before the 31st verse of the 25th chapter, is part of the discourse relating to the coming of Christ at the destruction of Jerusalem. But it is manifest that the 31st verse introduces a new train of thought. ‘ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, &c., [this is the same coming as that which is the subject of the whole preceding discourse,] then shall he SIT upon the throne of his glory.’ Here is a new action. ” (The Berean, p. 314)
(On Matthew 25) “THIS chapter contains three parables, of which the passage quoted is the first. Some are of opinion that the whole chapter relates to the day of judgment in the world to come; others, that a part, only, relates to that day, and the remainder to the subject embraced in the preceding chapter; others, among whom are Universalists, that the whole of both chapters is to be understood as descriptive of events then near at hand, of which the destruction of Jerusalem, and the calamities attending it, form. a very conspicuous part. I shall first offer a few quotations on different parts of this chapter, as on the foregoing, and then mention some circumstances equally applicable to both, and to the opinions entertained in relation to them.” (p. 134)
“Most of the commentators, as I have already said, are confident that the latter part of chap. xxv. relates to the general judgment. They all allow that the former part of chap. xxiv. relates to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the circumstances attending it. They also allow that the two chapters embrace a single connected discourse; that this discourse was delivered at one time, and without interruption. Entertaining these views, it was necessary for them to fix on the place where Jesus changed the subject of discourse, — where he ceased to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem, and commenced speaking of the day of judgment. That there is such a place, they are very confident; but where it is, they are by no means agreed.
While examining a variety of authors, in the preparation of this work, I noted down, as a matter of curiosity, several of the places which different writers have assigned as the precise point where Jesus changed his subject, and commenced describing an event which should not occur for two thousand, and I know not how many more, years after the events concerning which he was before speaking. I am by no means certain that I have noticed all the places; but the following are submitted to the reader. Where two or more writers have fixed on the same point of division, one only is named.
Guyse, Poole’s Continuators, Wynne, and others, apply the whole of chap. xxiv. and xxv., both to the destruction of Jerusalem and the day of general judgment, saying it is difficult to separate what is said in relation to the one subject from what is said in relation to the other: Dr. S. Clarke gives this double application as far as chap. xxv. 13, and applies the remainder of chap. xxv. exclusively to the day of judgment: Trapp fixes on chap. xxiv. 23, as the point where Jesus commenced speaking of the general judgment: the authors of the Dutch Annotations, on xxiv. 29: Heylin. on xxiv. 36: Macknight, on xxiv. 44 : Dr. Scott, on the latter part of chap. xxiv., but he does not designate the particular point; ‘ towards the close,’ is his expression : Dr. A. Clarke, on xxv. 1; though, when he comes to verse 31, he admits that the preceding part may refer to the destruction of Jerusalem ; the remainder, he imagines, must apply to the general judgment : Bishop Porteus fixes on xxv. 31: Dr. Hammond gives a double application to this verse, and applies all which follows, to the general judgment: while Bishop Pearce admits that Jesus continued to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem as far as ver. 41; but there, he imagines, he ‘ had the day of general judgment in his thoughts.’
One would suppose that, if this discourse of Jesus embraced two periods between which was an interval of two thousand years or more, there would be something in his language by which it might easily be determined where he passed from one period to the other. But orthodox critics seem to be in utter confusion on this point. If they cannot agree where this transition is, are we not justified in the belief that no transition is made, but that the whole is to be interpreted in reference to the same period ?”
Milton Terry (1898)
“When, however, the one school of interpreters attempt to point out the dividing line, there are as many differences of opinion as there are interpreters. In Matt. 24 and 25, for example, the transition from the one subject to the other is placed by Bengel and others at 24:29; by E.J. Meyer at verse 35; by Doddridge at verse 36; by Kuinoel at verse 33; by Eichorn at 25:14, and by Wetstein at 25:31.” (Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 217)
“the attempts to show a dividing line between what refers to the fall of Jerusalem and what refers to a yet future coming of Christ, the remarkable differences of opinion as to the point of transition from one subject to the other are of a nature to make one suspicious of the hypothesis.” (pp.213-252)
Charles Louis Hequembourg
“There have been two principal opinions upon the general import of this prophecy: first, that it relates to the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Jewish state, and to the complete establishment of Christianity as the only authorized system of religion in the world; second, that it includes these events, together with the resurrection and general judgment to take place at the end of time. The latter opinion undoubtedly at present prevails; and, indeed, those who have held the former have generally conceived that the final judgment was some way intended.
Although much light has been cast upon the meaning of this prophecy, a satisfactory explanation of its import is generally admitted not to have been attained. Bishop Warburton, and those who have held with him the belief that the destruction of Jerusalem, with the abrogation of the Jewish law, together with the formal institution of Christianity, was alone intended, and who in many respects hold the better part of the argument, still leave the case embarrassed with the apparently very clear allusions to the judgment; and, above all, with the fact that the resurrection was to take place at the same time. This explanation, therefore, does not meet all the demands of the case.
The other opinion, that the destruction of Jerusalem and all the other events are included in the same prophecy, is embarrassed with the difficulty of determining the precise point where a transition is made from the destruction of Jerusalem and the dissolution of the Jewish state to the general judgment, nor has any search ever discovered this point.
The vast interval which it would be necessary to conceive as elapsing between the destruction of Jerusalem and the conclusion of human history, also embarrasses this explanation. It is also necessary to account, upon this hypothesis, for the almost exclusive allusions to the Jewish people, which are interwoven with every part of the prophecy. Reference is exclusively made to Jewish disciples, as being bound to observe the Sabbath, an obligation which the Gentiles did not feel. The exhortations to flight upon the approach of the impending calamities are made to those only who lived in Jerusalem and in the surrounding country ; and when the sign of the Son of man appears in heaven, the tribes of the land only are represented as mourning. It has been observed, as singular, that the apostle John is the only one of the Evangelists who does not give any account of this prophecy ; but, if John wrote his Gospel after the destruction of Jerusalem, as is supposed, the omission would be very significant, as showing the reference of the prophecy to Jewish affairs, the interest in which had passed away with the destruction of the city. But whether John wrote his Gospel after the destruction of Jerusalem or not, the Revelation which he wrote describes the coming of Christ, and preserves the same allusions to Jewish affairs. (Rev. i. 7.) The prophecy of Christ, therefore, has everywhere the appearance of being a Jewish prediction, or one relating .exclusively to the concerns of that nation. No interpretation has hitherto removed these difficulties; the meaning of the prophecy, therefore, must lie allowed to have been very unsatisfactorily determined. Millenarians, Adventists, and Universalists, still contend over its import. ” (Plan of the Creation; Or, Other Worlds, and who Inhabit Them , pp. 235,236)
House and Thomas Ice
“How can Jordan, after taking the references to ‘coming’ in verses 1-35 as referring to Christ’s coming in judgment in A. D. 70, turn around and say that starting at verse 36 through the end of the chapter, it refers to the second coming. Either he is wrong about the first 35 verses, and they do refer to the second coming, or he should take verse 36 and following as a reference to the A. D. 70 destruction.” (House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 298)
“If [Jordan] were to take the whole of the Olivet discourse as already fulfilled, as Chilton does the whole book of Revelation, then he is left with the problem of where does the Bible actually teach the second coming?” (House and Ice, Dominion Theoloy, p. 298.)
“Why, on the basis of the hermeneutics Jordan has used to this point in his interpretation of the Olivet Discourse, does he suddenly make an arbitrary leap to the second coming of Christ?” (House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 268.)
“The Olivet discourse did predict the coming destruction of Jerusalem, which is today a past event, but at the same time the bulk of the passage deals with the yet future events of Christ’s coming and the end of the age.” (House and Ice, Dominion Theology, p. 271.)
“The first question is answered in Luke 21:20-24, since Luke is the one who specializes in the A. D. 70 aspects. Luke records Jesus’ warning about the soon-to-come destruction of Jerusalem — the days of vengeance. The second and third questions are answered in Matthew 24“The first question is answered in Luke 21:20-24, since Luke is the one who specializes in the A. D. 70 aspects. Luke records Jesus’ warning about the soon-to-come destruction of Jerusalem — the days of vengeance. The second and third questions are answered in Matthew 24.” (Ibid., pp. 293-94.)
J. Randall Price
“Although newly restored, it was still subject to the old terms of the covenantal contract, and with the Nation’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah the Temple was again doomed to desolation. All of Jesus pronouncements of the Temple’s destruction (Matt. 24:2/Mk. 13:2; Lk. 21:6, 20-24) must be viewed in this light, and not as a rejection or replacement of the Temple as a legitimate institution. In fact joined immediately to Jesus’ own pronouncement of the Temple’s desolation (Matt. 21:38) is His promise (in the word “until”) of Israel (and the Temple’s) restoration (Matt. 23:39). This and Jesus’ positive statements concerning the Temple elsewhere (Matt. 12: 4; 17:24-27; 23:16-21; Jn. 2:16-17) and especially in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14) hold out the prophetic promise that the history of the Temple would be continued in the future.” (An Overview of the Future Temples | Randall Price and the Transition Texts of Matthew 23:38-39)
“Two sieges of Jerusalem are in view in that discourse. Luke 21:20-24 refers to the siege by Titus, A.D. 70, when the city was taken, and verse 24 literally fulfilled. But that siege and its horrors but adumbrate the final siege at the end of this age, in which the “great tribulation” culminates. At that time the city will be taken, but delivered by the glorious appearing of the Lord.” (Scofield Reference Bible, 1, 106)
David Freidrich Strauss
“Thus there is still at v. 34 something which must be referred to an event very near to the time of Jesus : hence the discourse of Jesus cannot from so early a point as v. 29, refer to the end of the world, an epoch so far distant; and the division must be made somewhat farther on, after v. 35 or 42. On this plan, expressions arc thrown into the first part of the discourse, which resist the assigned application to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem ;—the glorious advent of Christ in the clouds, and the assembling of all nations by angels (v. 30 f.), must be regarded as the same extravagant figures, which formerly forbade our acceptance of another mode of division.
Thus the declaration v. 34 which, together with the preceding symbolical discourse on the fig-tree (v. 32 f.), and the appended asseveration (v. За), must refer to a very near event, has, both before and after it, expressions which can only relate to the more distant catastrophe : hence it has appeared to some as a sort of oasis in the discourse, having a sense isolated from the immediate context. Schott, for instance, supposes that, up to v. 26, Jesus had been speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem ; that at v. 27 he does indeed make a transition to the events at the end of the present period of the world ; but that at v. 32, he reverts to the original subject, the destruction of Jerusalem : and only at v. 36 proceeds again to speak of the end of the world.* But this is to hew the text in pieces, out of desperation. Jesus cannot possibly have spoken with so little order and coherence ; still less can he have so linked his sentences together as to give no intimation of such abrupt transitions. Nor is this imputed to him by the most recent crities. According to them, it is the evangelist who has joined together, not in the best order, distinct and heterogeneous declarations of Jesus. Matthew, indeed, admits Schulz, imagined that these discourses were spoken without intermission, and only arbitrariness and violence can in this respect sever them from each other : but hardly did Jesus himself deliver them in this consecutive manncr, and with this imprint of unity, t The various phases of his coming, thinks Sieffert, his figurative appearance at the destruction of Jerusalem, and his literal appearance at the last clay, though they may not have been expressly discriminated, were certainly not positively connected by Jesus ; but subjects which he spoke of in succession, were, from their obscurity confused together by the evangelist.:): And as in this instance there recurs the difference between Matthew and Luke, that what Matthew represents as being spoken on a single occasion, Luke distributes into separate discourses ; to which it is also to be added, that much of what Matthew gives, Luke either has not, or has it in a different form : therefore Schleiermacher believed himself warranted to rectify the composition of Matthew by that of Luke, and to maintain that while in Luke the two separate discourses, xvii. 22 ft’, and xxi. 5 ff., have each their appropriate connexion and their indubitable application, in Matthew (chap. xxiv. and xxv.), by the blending of those two discourses, and the introduction of portions of other discourses, the connexion is destroyed, and the application obscured. According to this, the discourse, Luke xxi. taken alone, contains nothing which outsteps the reference to the capture of Jerusalem and the accompanying events. Yet here also (v. 27) we find the declaration, Then shall they see the Son of ЛГaп coming in a cloud, ; and when Schleiermacher explains this as a mere image representing the revelation of the religious significance of the political and natural events before described, he falls into a violence of interpretation which overturns his entire opinion as to the mutual relation of these accounts. If, then, in the connexion of the end of all tiiings with the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew by no means stands alone, but is countenanced by Luke—to say nothing of Mark, whose account in this instance is an extract from Matthew : we may, it is true, conclude, that as in other discourses of Jesus, so perhaps in this also, many things which were uttered at different times are associated ; but there is nothing to warrant the supposition, that precisely what relates to -the two events, which in our idea are so remote from each other, is the foreign matter, especially since we see, from the unanimous representation of the remaining New Testament writings, that the primitive church expected, as a speedy issue, the return of Christ, together with the end of the present period of the world (1 Cor. x. 11 ; xv. 51 ; 1’hil. iv. 5; 1 Thess. iv. 15 ff.; James v. 8; 1 Pet. iv. 7; 1 John ii. 18; Rev. i. l, 3 ; iii. 11 ; xxii. 7, 10, 12, 20.).
Thus it is impossible to evade the acknowledgment, that in this discourse, if we do not mutilate it to suit our own views, Jesus at first speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem, and farther on and until the close, of his return at the end of all things, and that he places the two events in immediate connexion. There remains, therefore, but one expedient for vindicating the correctness of his announcement, namely, on the one hand, to assign the coming of which he speaks to the future, but, on the other hand, to bring it at the same time into the present—instead of a merely future, to make it a perpetual coming. The whole history of the world, it is said, since the first appearance of Christ, is an invisible return on his part, a spiritual judgment which he holds over mankind. Of this, the destruction of Jerusalem (in our passage until v. 28) is only the first act ; in immediate succession comes the revolution effected among mankind by the publication of the gospel ; a revolution which is to be carried on in a series of acts and epochs until the end of all things, when the judgment gradually effected in the history of the world, will be made known by an all-comprehending, final revelation. But the famous utterance of the poet, spoken from the inmost depth of modern conviction, is ill-adapted to become the key of a discourse, which more than any other has its root in the point of view proper to the ancient world.
To regard the judgment of the world, the coming of Christ, as something successive, is a mode of conception in the most direct opposition to that of the New Testament. The very expressions by which it designates that catastrophe, as that day or the last day, éкeivц or еo-xfi-ц t’цiépa, show that it is to be thought of as momentary ; the ovvréfaia rov aluvoç, end of ihe age (v. 3), concerning the signs of which the apostles inquire, and which Jesus elsewhere (Matt. xiii. 3Ü.) represents under the image of the harvest, can only be the final close of the course of the world, not something which is gradually effected during this course ; when Jesus compares his coming to lightning (xxiv. 27.), and to the entrance of the thief in the night (v. 43), he represents it as one sudden event, and not as a series of events. Thus the last attempt to discover in the discourse before us the immense interval which, looking from our position in the present day, is fixed between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of all things, having failed; we are taught practically that that interval lies only in our own conception, which we are not justified in introducing into the text. And when we consider that we owe our idea of that interval only to the experience of many centuries, which have elapsed since the destruction of Jerusalem: it cannot be difficult to us to imagine how the author of this discourse, who had not had this experience, might entertain the belief that shortly after the fall of the Jewish sanctuary the world itself, of which, in the Jewish idea, that sanctuary was the centre, would also come to an end, and the Messiah appear in judgment.” (The Life of Jesus, pp. 663-666)
- Date: 19 Sep 2003
- Time: 10:19:04
Where does it say in the writings of Josephus ” Jerusalem suffered as no other city since the foundation of the world ” ? It is almost a direct quote from Christ in Matthew 24 : 21 . If you could help I would appreciate it . Jerry Greene [5. It is therefore impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men’s iniquity. I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly: – That neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world. (Wars 5. 10. 5)]
- Date: 24 Sep 2003
- Time: 19:47:25
I am writing a research paper on the Olivet Prophecy, can you point me to any pertinent material to use? – Olivet Discourse
- Date: 01 Oct 2004
- Time: 15:53:25
I am a futurist who has just learned that someone very close to me, who also used to be a futurist, is now a prederist. I am confused and I think she is too. I asked her if there is no longer a return of christ then what happens, we just all live until we die? She said she had not figured that part out yet. I still choose to believe in the HOPE of the second coming of Christ. The bible says that when Christ returns that christians will rule and reign with him and he will make all things new, look around things are not new! I will continue to read articles on this subjuct because I never knew there were people that thought that the second coming of christ has already happened.
Date: 20 Nov 2005
SOLA SCRIPLURA!! The Bible explaines it self. We are not given the scriptures to interpret but to be believed. And not just a verse here and there nor a chapter even but it all it true as written by God therefore ALL of it should be taken into account. If one–and only one contradicts another in our thinking, our thinking is wrong, not GOD.