Which aspects of the teaching of Jesus on the Mt of Olives refer to the Second Coming?

How then do we understand verse 34 (cf. Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32)?
What is the duration of the great distress in verses 15-22?
Some scholarly opinions on Jesus teaching about the future on the Mt of Olives
The views of N T Wright
~CRITIQUE
~The interpretation of “generation” (“genea”) in Matthew 24:34

Jesus spoke about the destruction of the temple and his disciples asked him: “Tell us .... when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ (Matt 24:1-2). Jesus went into a long description of false messiahs, wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, the gospel being preached to the whole world, defiling of the temple, great suffering, signs in the heavens and “the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 24:30-31). There is a wide range of interpretations of all this which I will divide into three.

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  • 1.      At one end of the spectrum some say the whole chapter was fulfilled in the 1st century AD, especially in AD70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.
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  • ·         These interpreters see “the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven” as a reference to Daniel 7:13-14 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” In other words these interpreters say Jesus is referring to himself not returning to earth (the second coming as normally understood) but as “coming to God to receive vindication and authority.”
  • ·         [1]
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  • ·         They translate “all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” as “all the tribes of the land will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” and refer it to the mourning only in Israel at the events of AD70. Also this translation has to treat Jesus coming on the clouds as symbolical as no-one literally saw him doing so in AD70.
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  • ·         They interpret verse 31 “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” as referring to the worldwide growth of the church which followed the destruction of Jerusalem.
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  • ·         They also interpret verse 14 “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” as referring to the preaching of the gospel throughout the then known world between AD30 and AD70.
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  • 2.      At the other end of the spectrum others interpret the chapter as referring only to the Second Coming and the events associated with it, all still future.
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  • 3.      In between these two opposing views is the interpretation that the chapter refers to both the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 and to the Second Coming still in the future.
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  • It seems clear to me that this third view is correct for the following reasons:
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  • 1.      The disciples question was in two parts: firstly, when will the Temple be destroyed and secondly what will be the signs of Jesus coming and of the end of the age. The disciples probably thought both of these events would take place at about the same time. But the end of the age in Jewish thinking was about when the Messiah would come to earth. They did not envisage this taking place in two stages as we now know it will. But it is about the Messiah physically coming to earth not some ‘spiritual’ coming to God in heaven. This would have been in the disciples’ minds.
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  • 2.      Since the disciples clearly asked when the Temple would be destroyed, some of Jesus’ answer must refer to AD70.
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  • 3.      The signs of verses 4-13 (false messiahs, wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets) continued to happen both before and after AD70. They are probably better called “Reminders” than “Signs” because they keep being repeated. They are now reminders that Jesus will return.
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  • 4.      However, verses 9-12 seem to use extreme language if they only refer to the period AD30-70: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold This very much seems to describe a far worse situation than happened between AD30 and AD70.
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  • 5.      Verse 14: “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come,” again seems to go way beyond what happened between AD30 and AD70. There were many more nations in the whole world than were evangelised in that period and “the end” is much more likely to refer to the end of the age when the Messiah comes physically to earth than to the end of the Temple era in AD70.
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  • 6.      There is no difficulty in applying verses 15-20 to the trauma of AD70 but verses 21-22 say: “For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again. ‘If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”  Are we to understand that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD70 is the worst thing that will ever happen, including to the Jewish people? What about the holocaust of 6 million Jewish people? What about the massive persecution of Christians, including today? Again, the language seems much more likely to refer to some future great trauma.
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  • 7.      Verses 29 says: “immediately after the distress” the cosmic signs and the Return of Christ take place. Verse 30 can really only refer to the Return of Christ because it says that the people mourn because “they see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.” This event is a visible event not some ‘spiritual’ coming to God in heaven.
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How then do we understand verse 34 (cf. Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32)?

  • In verse 34 Jesus says: “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” This seems to say that all that Jesus had foretold would happen in the first generation – between AD30 and AD70. Some people have translated the word “generation” as “race” meaning this “race” – the Jewish people – will not pass away until all is fulfilled. The word normally refers to the literal present generation and is often described as an evil generation. However, Luke (who quotes the same words from Jesus) probably wrote some 30 years after Jesus died when the ‘present generation’ would have been ‘passing away’ so it is unlikely he would have understood the current generation to be meant by the term ‘this generation.’ Is Jesus therefore referring to the generation that experiences the beginning of the late (non-recurring) signs of the Return of Christ and saying all the great events including the Return itself will happen within one generation?
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  • One thing is clear: there are more difficulties in trying to make Matthew 24 only refer to the events leading up to AD70 than in taking the word “generation” either to mean “race” or to refer to this final (future) generation.
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What is the duration of the great distress in verses 15-22?

On the face of it, the ‘great distress’ seems to last from the destruction of the Temple in AD70 until the Return of Christ. Five suggestions have been made:

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  • 1.      Jesus passes from one period of great distress (AD70) to the other (still future).
  • 2.      Jesus means the whole period from AD70 until his Return is a time of distress.
  • 3.      Jesus follows the ‘telescoping’ or ‘foreshortening’ which is typical of the prophets. Think of climbing a mountain. What looks like a single slope to the top often turns out to hide valleys which have to be crossed. In fact the mountain is a series of lesser peaks separated by valleys, but from the bottom it looks like a single slope to the highest peak. The prophets often see a series of events as a ‘single slope’ but they turn out to be events separated by ‘valleys’ of time. So Jesus may have been viewing the two periods of distress in that way, apparently as one event but actually two, separated by a (very long) valley of time.
  • 4.      Jesus means the tribulation starts in AD 66/70 but the main part of it is long postponed – to the still future End Times.
  • 5.      Jesus is using his reference to his return in verses 29-31 to symbolise the Fall of Jerusalem (as we have seen, this is unlikely. It seems clear he is referring to his physical return to earth).
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  • In my view suggestions 1 and 3 seem most likely.
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Some scholarly opinions on Jesus teaching about the future on the Mt of Olives

  • There is a good deal of scholarly opinion that in Matthew 24 (and Mark 13, Luke 21) Jesus is referring to the signs pointing towards his Second Coming, as well as to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.
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  • There are three main views about these chapters:
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  • 1.      Jesus was only speaking about the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD70.
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  • 2.      Jesus was only speaking about the signs of the return of Christ.
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  • 3.      Jesus was speaking about both.
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The views of N T Wright

  • Wright claims that Matthew 24 and parallels, which have long been understood as referring to a still future return of Jesus in glory actually refer to the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. He does hold that some future event will result in the personal presence of Jesus within God’s new creation. However he says:
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  • None of the teaching of Jesus in the gospels (the Olivet Discourse) refers to the second coming. Jesus never spoke about his second coming. That teaching was developed by the early church, particularly Paul, after the ascension. The gospel passages about “the Son of man coming in the clouds” are about his coming from earth to heaven, not from heaven to earth. Daniel 7 depicts the Son of man going upwards not downwards. He says: “I insist that in the New Testament a reference to ‘the son of man coming on the clouds’ is to Jesus’ vindication (in resurrection, ascension, and not least in the destruction of the Jerusalem that had opposed and rejected him) rather than to his return.”[2] When Acts 1:9-11 says Jesus will come in the same way as the disciples saw him go this looks like a “post-Easter innovation.” Jesus did not teach he would return in glory. Wright states (about the personal, visible return of Christ): “This monstrosity, much beloved (though for different reasons) by both fundamentalists and would-be ‘critical’ scholars, can be left behind. . . . The truly ‘apocalyptic’ ‘son of man’ has nothing to do with such a figure.”[3]
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  • The parables about a returning king, etc., are about God returning to Jerusalem in history, not a future return of Jesus to earth. According to Wright, Jesus “saw his journey to Jerusalem as the symbol and embodiment of YHWH’s return to Zion”[4]
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  • The teaching of Mark 13:24-27  about the sun and moon being darkened, the stars falling, (which leads on to the Son of Man coming in the clouds and sending his angels to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth) refers to the destruction of the temple in AD70.
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  • There will be no literal ‘Rapture’ of the saints. The ‘Rapture’ is “a highly charged metaphor, not a literal description.” It is referring to the saints meeting the Lord when he appears on earth at some time in the future and escort him. 1 Thessalonians 4 is only stating that when Jesus returns those who are still alive will be transformed so that their bodies become incorruptible, deathless. The other imagery: the Lord coming down from heaven, the loud command, the voice of the archangel, the trumpet and believers being “caught up together ... in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” are simply metaphors to enhance his message. It is “a vivid and biblically allusive description of the great transformation of the present world of which he speaks elsewhere.”
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  • The coming of Jesus is simply a screen being removed and his reappearing. It is an unveiling not a physical descent.
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  • It is true that Jesus statement: “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:34) is a difficulty but ever since at least the fourth century the traditional view has been that Jesus is talking about the end of the world but with a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem associated with it.

  • CRITIQUE

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  • Whereas I find some of N T Wright’s comments on eschatology helpful, e.g. on heaven, I do not accept his controversial view that none of the teaching of Jesus in the gospels (the Olivet Discourse) refers to the second coming.
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  • 1.      It is true that Jesus begins Matthew 24 by talking about the destruction of the temple. But the disciples ask Jesus: “‘Tell us ... when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’” They are asking two distinct questions: First, when will the temple be destroyed? Second, what will be the sign of Jesus’ coming and the end of the age?  They are not just asking about the destruction of the temple.
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  • 2.      Matthew uses the term “Parousia” – i.e. he says the disciples actually ask Jesus “What will be the sign of your Parousia?”  The word is also used in verses 27, 37 and 39. Paul uses the same term of the Second Coming in 1 Cor 15:23; 1 Thess 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:1; James 5:7-8; 2 Peter 3:4. It does not therefore seem credible to make a fundamental distinction between the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of Paul in this area, as Wright does, and to say that Jesus is not speaking of his Second Coming.
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  • 3.      Similarly, both Jesus and Paul refer to the Son of man coming on the clouds (Matt 24:30, 1 Thess 4:17) and to the “thief in the night” metaphor (Matt 24:43-44; 1 Thess 5:2 cf. 2 Peter 3:10). Luke clearly expects a personal return of Jesus: “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven (Acts 1:11). The Maranatha prayer shows the early church’s longing for Jesus to return (1 Cor 16:22 cf. Rev 22:20).
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  • 4.      The descriptions of Jesus’ coming in both the Gospels have a much more universal feel about them rather than only referring to the events of AD70 in Israel cf. Matt 25:30-31..
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  • 5.      Surely coming of false messiahs deceiving with signs and wonders requires a more spectacular return of Jesus than Wright is describing.
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  • 6.      I find real difficulty that Wright thinks all the detailed teaching of Jesus about the signs of the times is only about AD70 and so irrelevant to all future generations, except as a historical statement. The same problem is inherent in a historical interpretation to the Book of Revelation which has it all being fulfilled in the first century.
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  • 7.      There is a good deal of metaphor in apocalyptic language but I find any interpretation which makes everything (or more or less everything) metaphorical inherently unconvincing. This is also true of the a-millennial interpretation of the Book of Revelation. There will be debate as to where metaphor ends, but it seems important that metaphors relate to real events, and not just a few very basic events at that.
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  • 8.      Wright sees the divine judgment referred to in the NT as not God revealing his wrath but as him changing the whole cosmos into the one it was meant to be. However this really does not seem to do justice to what the NT actually says. It envisages Jesus coming in universal judgment at the end of the age – separating the sheep from the goats, etc. It really can’t be reduced to the Fall of Jerusalem.
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  • 9.      Robert Stein criticises Wright for squeezing biblical texts into his system, namely his obsession with interpreting the text as relating only to Israel, the Jewish people and first century history.[5] He gives numerous examples. For example, making friends with one’s accuser before going to court is interpreted as Israel should make peace with Rome lest she be handed over to the judgment and destruction of AD 70. Also building one’s house on rock and not sand refers to the coming destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and its replacement by Jesus as the true temple. Thirdly Jesus’ warning on the danger of possessions refers to the Jewish people’s love for the land of Israel.  Finally, Jesus’ sayings concerning selling one’s possession involves the need of the Jewish people to renounce their nationalistic and idolatrous hopes concerning the land of Israel.  It does appear that this sort of interpretation, which is also used over the eschatological passages in the Gospels, is excessive and rather obsessive. Stein gives other examples and says Wright seems to have an intense dislike that Jesus could ever have taught “timeless” truths. Similarly, Wright tends to emphasise that repentance is primarily about national repentance. In fact he says: “Forgiveness of sins is another way of saying ‘return from exile’”[6]  Stein points out that this is difficult to relate to the stories of Zachaeus, the paralytic, the sinful woman etc.
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  • 10.  Stein also points out that Wright says: “The ‘coming of the son of man’ is thus good first-century metaphorical language for two things: the defeat of the enemies of the true people of God, and the vindication of the true people themselves.”[7]  Stein points out that in the Gospels the Son of man clearly refers to Jesus.
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  • I will stop at that but these are some of the reasons why I believe N T Wright is mistaken and that the passages I have referred to in the main paper, whatever the allusion to the Fall of Jerusalem in AD70, refer to the Second Coming of Jesus which is a spectacular and glorious event in the future.
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  • I give my reasons above for believing that Jesus is speaking both about AD70 and about his future return and I shall now quote scholars who may differ on their interpretation of various aspects of the Olivet discourse but they do relate the passage to the events leading to the Return of Christ as well as to those of AD70.
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  • Professors W D Davies and D C Allison in the International Critical Commentary on Matthew write that they are “unpersuaded” by Dick France that Matthew 24 is only about the events around AD70.[8]
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  • They write: “
  • “Our own view holds that w. 4ff. are a depiction of the entire post-Easter period, interpreted in terms of the messianic woes.21 This means that the discourse, which freely mixes experience with topoi [literary conventions], concerns the past, the present, and the future. What has happened will continue to happen and only get worse: ‘the mystery of lawlessness is already at work’ (2 Thess 2.7). Whether the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 is directly referred to in vv 15ff. or is instead indirectly included in the tribulations of vv. 15ff. we are uncertain. But if the former, AD 70 does not exhaust the significance of vv. 5ff, which plainly envisage eschatological events to come. So the answer to the disciples' two-part question in v. 3 is this: the temple will be destroyed during the tribulation of the latter days, which runs from the first advent to the second; and after that tribulation the end—whose date cannot be known—will come.”[9]
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  • Professor Leon Morris says:
  • “There is a problem for the student in that sometimes what Jesus says refers to the coming judgment on Jerusalem, a judgment that was consummated in the destruction of the city in A.D. 70, and sometimes what he is saying refers to the judgment at the end of the age. We may well argue that there is a theological unity between the two judgments, and that some of what Jesus says could apply equally well to both.”[10]
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  • He adds:
  • Some commentators take the whole discourse to refer to a single judgment. They hold that Jesus confidently expected his return within a comparatively few years and that there would be a judgment on Jerusalem as part of the judgment of the whole world. But the language used is against this. Far from promoting speculations that he would soon return in glory, Jesus seems to be discouraging this kind of thing (cf. vv. 6,8,14, and 23-28). And we should not overlook the important fact that he said quite plainly that he did not know the date of his coming back (v. 36). If he did not know it, how could he say confidently that it would occur within a few years?”[11]
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  • Professor F D Bruner writes:
  • “The emphasis in Matthew’s version of the sermon is certainly on the end of the world, but the destruction of Jerusalem is everywhere that end's classic precursor. Thus Jesus’ sermon about current events, especially the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, becomes a window through which to see Jesus’ view of end events, especially the coming of the Son of Man ... The destruction of Jerusalem was the prototype of the end of the world ... we most profitable read Matthew’s sermon when we read it in this irridescent way, seeing both Jerusalem’s end and Jesus’ coming in most texts, not always being sure which of the two events is meant ...”[12]
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  • Professor Robert Mounce says:
  • “It is helpful to remember that apocalyptic literature is a genre that does not share our Western concern for orderly continuity. If we allow Matthew the freedom to enlarge on a specific discourse delivered by Jesus by adding material from other settings, we are not at all surprised to find the chapter as fluid as it appears. It is not uncommon for prophetic material to move between type and antitype without calling attention to exactly what is happening. Predictions of the future were of necessity couched in language taken from the prophet’s own setting.”[13]
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  • He adds: “Biblical prophecy is capable of multiple fulfillment.”[14]
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  • Professor Douglas Hare writes of Matthew 24:
  • “....it speaks of a series of future events climaxing in the arrival of Jesus in glory.....”[15]
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  • He adds that the prediction of the destruction of the temple
  • provides the basis for the apocalyptic discourse, which addresses two fundamental concerns of early Christians: When will Jesus come in glory, and what are we to do in the meantime? The structure, accordingly, is relatively simple: (a) events prior to the great tribulation (24:3-14); (b) the abomination and the great tribulation (24:15-28); (c) Jesus’ coming in glory (24:29-31); (d) the time when all this will happen (24:32-44); (e) three parables about faithful waiting (24:45—25:30); and (f) the judgment of the pagans (25: 31-46).”[16]
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  • He also writes:
  • It is sometimes argued that for Matthew the events of verses 15-21 have already occurred: ‘the abomination of deso­lation’ refers either to the siege of Jerusalem or to the final capture of the temple by the armies of Titus and the offering of pagan sacrifice on the holy site; the flight that follows is either the migration of the Jerusalem church to Pella east of the Jor­dan prior to the siege or the escape of refugees following the fall of the city; the great tribulation of verse 21 describes the desperate situation in Palestine in the months following the Roman victory. All of this is most improbable. The flight of which verses 16-20 speak is not any historical event, and most certainly not the escape of refugees from the burning capital in the summer (not winter) of 70 C.E. It is not clear why Matthew's version adds ‘nor on a Sabbath’ in verse 20, since it seems to acknowledge that the flight will take place whether it is winter or on a Sabbath or not, but it certainly indicates that the event has, for Matthew, not yet taken place; there would be no point in praying about a past event. No, it is best to treat these various events as representing familiar apocalyptic motifs.”[17]
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  • He adds that in view of the teaching about the “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thess 2:3-4 who “sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God”
  • It seems likely, therefore, that Matthew understands the abomination of desolation as referring to some supernatural Antichrist.”[18]
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  • Professor R V G Tasker quotes B C Butler with approval:
  • Matthew xxiv. 5-14 gives a straightforward anticipation of the whole of future history (in reference to the question about the consummation of the age), warning the disciples that secular catastrophes must not be taken as signs of the imminent end of history; forecasting, briefly, the world's persecution of the Church; and working to a poignant climax which foretells defections from the Church, false prophets and spiritual decay and treason within the Christian body itself,... and reaching its culmination in the prophecy of the universal proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom—‘and then will come the end.’”[19]
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  • Professor C E B Cranfield, writing on the parallel passage, Mark 13, says that it is an eschatological prediction of the End leading to the return of Christ. He writes that although we must take careful note of Jesus’ teaching and we cannot know the time of his return we must nevertheless take note of the signs of the End:
  • “To disregard the signs of the End as a mere relic of Jewish apocalypticism is to be in danger of reducing eschatology to something purely academic and of losing sight of its relevance to the present. For the signs are reminders in the midst of history of the coming Lord.”[20]
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  • He continues:
  • “It may well be asked whether the disparagement of this chapter by much recent scholarship has not resulted in a serious impoverishment and weakening of the Church's life. Its insistence on the signs is perhaps a help to faith and obedience that we cannot afford to dispense with; for the recognition that the events of history are signs of the End and pointers to the coming Lord rescues eschatology from the realm of merely academic discussion and makes it relevant for faith and obedience. As our faith recognizes the signs as they occur, we are again and again put in remembrance of our Hope, and our gaze, that is so easily distracted from the Lord who is coming to us, is again and again directed back to him. The events of the present become for us reasons for lifting up our heads (Lk. xxi. 28) and so many summonses to renewed penitence, obedience and joy.”[21]
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  • He goes on to point out that 2 Thess 2:3-10 supports the identification of the “abomination that causes desolation” with the Antichrist. He says that neither an exclusively historical nor an exclusively eschatological interpretation is satisfactory but rather a mingling of the two.[22]
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  • Scholars also comment on the difficult verse: “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30).

  • The interpretation of “generation” (“genea”) in Matthew 24:34

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  • Professor Robert Gundry makes a very helpful comment on Jesus’ condemnation of the Jewish leadership in Matthew 23:29-36:
  • “Retribution for all the righteous blood of the OT martyrs will take the form of the tribulational events yet to be described as fulfilling the forecast concerning ‘this generation.’ By context ‘this generation’ means the scribes and Pharisees (‘lawyers’ in Luke). Matthew's next verse narrows the reference further to the scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem. But his involving them in the by­gone murder of an OT prophet (v 35) shows that he does not take ‘this generation’ in a sense chronologically limited to Jesus' contemporaries, but in a qualitative sense concerning the ‘unbelieving and perverted’ in the whole of Israel's history (see 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17 and synoptic parallels for the same qualitative emphasis in pre-Matthean tra­dition; cf. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32). Hence, we read, ‘in order that on you may come ... you murdered [for a centuries-old incident]... will come on this generation.’ In other words, if the ‘you’ who constitute ‘this generation’ includes those who murdered Zechariah in OT times, ‘this generation’ can hardly bear the chronological limitation usually imposed on it cf. Ex 20:5 34:7; Num 14:18; Deut 5:9.”[23]
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  • The inference is, of course, that if “this generation” in 23:36 is clearly not chronologically limited to the literal present generation, the same is true of “this generation” in 24:34.
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  • Professor Robert Mounce writes:
  • “If genetai (happened) is taken as an ingressive aorist, the sentence would indicate that before the generation alive at the time had died, all things described in connection with the end will have started to take place.[24]
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  • Leon Morris quotes Professor D A Carson as saying:
  • “All that v.34 demands is that the distress of vv.4-28, including Jerusalem's fall, happen within the lifetime of the generation then living. This does not mean that the distress must end within that time but only that `all these things' must happen within it.”[25]
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  • Dr David Hill quotes Professor C H Dodd:
  • “It is probable that we have here an example of that `shortening of historical perspective' which is so frequently in the prophets. ‘When the profound realities underlying a situation are depicted in the dramatic form of historical prediction, the certainty and inevitability of the spiritual processes involved are expressed in terms of the immediate imminence of the event’”[26]
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  • Donald English comments on Mark 13:
  • “The best solution to hold together all the diverse considerations in [Mark 13] seems to be that which joins to the destruction of Jerusalem and the ultimate Parousia as two parts of God's one activity, the former prefiguring the latter.  The `signs of the end' begin when Jesus' ministry is complete and Jerusalem's destruction was terrible evidence of the end times. Jesus' generation would see that, and proleptically would be recipients of the promise of the rest.”[27]
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  • Robert Mounce writes about Matthew 24:34: “One thing we do know is that by the time Matthew wrote, the mission of the Twelve was history and the parousia had not taken place.”[28] It is not likely therefore that Matthew was referring to the AD30-70 generation.
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  • Some reference should be made to Mark 14:62 where Jesus tells the high priest: “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Again, this does not require that Jesus was referring to what would happen in their lifetimes. Cranfield points out that it must refer to the Return of Christ because Jesus says: “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’ i.e. the sitting precedes the coming. Contrast Dan 7:13 “there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence” where the ‘coming’ is first and the implied sitting at the right hand of the Father comes second. Cranfield rejects the idea that Mark 14:62 implies the Second Coming will occur during the lifetime of the High Priest. He adds: “A more probable explanation is that …. They will see the Son of Man when he comes as Judge – possibly indeed in their lifetimes, but equally possible after their deaths, when they are raised up for the last judgment.”[29]
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[1] R T France, Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, IVP, Leicester 1985, p. 344.

 

[2] N T Wright, Interview with David Van Biema, Feb 2008. See http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html

[3] N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory Of God p. 517.

[4] Ibid., p. 639

[5] Robert H. Stein, Review of  N. T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory Of God, Journal of the Evangelical Theology Society June 2011. See http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/44/44-2/44-2-PP207-218_JETS.pdf

[6] N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory Of God p. 268

[7] Ibid p. 362

[8] W D Davis & D C Allison, Matthew 19-28, International Critical Commentary,  T & T Clark,  2004 p. 328

[9] Ibid, p. 331.

[10] The Pillar NT Commentary, The Gospel according to Matthew, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1992, p. 593

[11] Ibid., p. 594

[12] F D Bruner Matthew: A Commentary - Volume 2: The Churchbook, Matthew 13-28, p. 473.

[13] Robert Mounce, Matthew, New International Biblical Commentary, Hendrickson Publishers, Incorporated, 1991, p.

   222.

[14] Ibid, p. 228.

[15] Douglas R Hare, Matthew, Interpretation, a commentary for teaching and preaching, Westminster John Knox Press,

   Lousiville, 2009, p.  273.

[16] Ibid., p. 274.

[17] Ibid., p. 277.

[18] Ibid., p. 277.

[19] B C Butler, The Originality of St Matthew, 1951, p. 80 quoted in R V G Tasker, The Gospel according to St

    Matthew, Tyndale Press, London 1961, p. 224.

[20] C E B Cranfield,, The Gospel according to Saint Mark, Cambridge University Press, 1959, p. 389.

[21] Ibid., p. 391.

[22] Ibid., p. 402.

[23] Robert Gundry, Matthew: a commentary on his handbook for a mixed church under persecution, Eerdmans 

    Publishing, Grand Rapids, 1994, p. 472

[24] Robert Mounce, New International Biblical Commentary: Matthew, Paternoster Press 1995, p. 228.

[25] D A Carson, Matthew: Chapters 13-28 v. 2 (Expositor's Bible Commentary), Zondervan 1995, III, p. 97 quoted in

    Leon Morris, The Pillar NT Commentary, The Gospel according to Matthew, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1992, p. 612.

[26] C H Dodd, Parables of the Kingdom, p. 71 quoted in Dr David Hill, The Gospel of Matthew, New Century Bible,

    Oliphants, London, 1972).

[27] Donald English, The Message of Mark, IVP, Leicester, 1992, p.209

[28] Robert Mounce, Matthew, New International Biblical Commentary, Hendrickson Publishers, Incorporated, 1991, p. 

    95.

[29] Cranfield, op. cit p. 444f



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