Matthew 24 - The sign of Christ's coming

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MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
The following quote is clipped out of a paper I wrote on Matthew chapter 24. I would like to interact with others on some of the themes and points that I bring up here. I've bolded and underlined some of these themes and points.

"Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. (Matt 24:23-28 NKJV)

Knowing that as the tribulation of those days worsens more false saviors will come forward, Jesus again warns his disciples. People desiring an escape will look to flee to these deceivers even in remote places. But to these deceivers with their false promises and false signs Jesus warns his disciples not to go. Jesus’ coming was not going to be with false signs and promises of victory over Rome; rather a clear and precise strike of judgment. The gospel of Luke is helpful in bringing a fuller understanding to Jesus’ words. In a separate conversation with his disciples from the one on the mountain, Jesus speaks of his (“as lightning”) coming in more detail. Luke records this conversation in Chapter 17 of his gospel.
When Jesus was asked about the coming of the kingdom of God he replied, “the kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say, ‘See here it is’ or ‘See there!’”(Luke 17:21). Clearly the kingdom of God is seen and comprehended through they eyes of faith and only by those with a regenerate heart. But, in a seemingly contradictory statement a couple of verses later, Luke records Jesus saying, “For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day [coming]” (Luke 17:24). This is not a contradiction. The Kingdom of God itself will not be observable in the flesh, but the signs that accompany its coming will be as observable as lightning.
Jesus begins to tell his disciples about the details of the observable signs. He speaks of the Judgment of the flood in Noah’s day, how it came suddenly and destroyed the people (vs 26-27). He speaks of the Judgment of Sodom when fire came down from heaven and destroyed them all (vs 29). Explaining that observable judgment (like lightning) will also accompany his own coming, he say’s, “Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:30). The disciples, after hearing of this coming judgment and the examples of those taken away in judgment, ask “Where Lord?” Jesus gives them the answer “Where the dead body is (The dead body is a reference to Jerusalem ) there the eagles will be gathered together (to execute judgment ).” Thus, Christ’s coming, “as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west,” is observable for all to see in his judgment against Jerusalem.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matt 24:29 NKJV)

Christ here speaks of his coming immediately following the tribulation of those days (i.e., the trouble of wars, famines, pestilences, false prophets, etc). There was not going to be a rest of days or years after the trouble of those days, nor a time of repentance given to apostate Israel, but, rather, an immediate and decisive execution of judgment. Jesus cloaks the language and description of this judgment in the apocalyptic language similar to one of the prophets of old. The prophet Isaiah spoke judgment against the ancient city of Babylon in such language:

The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw . . . Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. (Isaiah 13:1, 9-10 NKJV)

The apocalyptic judgment language of the scriptures often speaks of changes in the heavens at the destruction of, or changing of, empires and nations. In Isaiah’s time it was the city of Babylon which would be judged, In Jesus’ time it was to be Jerusalem. A city and a people who may have been influential, powerful, or a light to other nations, when destroyed was then considered darkness. Like the sun and moon failing to shine, so are the destroyed city and its people. Like the stars falling from the heavens, so the princes and rulers of that city fall and are no more. When something so major, so catastrophic, as an entire nation, city and people being destroyed, it is thought that the “powers of the heavens” are shaken. For the ancients believed that the powers of the heavens were what controlled the happenings of the nations; God’s wrathful judgment shakes even them.

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt 24:30-31 NKJV)


Here many readers of the gospel think that Jesus is giving his disciples another sign to look for, like a picture in the sky, or a visible/physical symbol. This is a mistake because Jesus had already established what the sign of his coming was going to be (i.e., the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple). The “sign” in this passage is a revelation, or proof, of Christ himself in heaven. A literal Greek word translation of this verse is of some help here, “and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven” (Matt 24:30 YLT). If the sign given (as lightning from one side of heaven to another) of Christ’s coming is the judgment against Jerusalem, then this verse speaks of the signs signification. One cannot (by very nature of what a sign is) confuse a sign with the actual thing that it signifies (e.g., a stop sign is not the physical action of stopping). The destruction of Jerusalem is the sign that signifies that Christ is ruling in heaven. The second part of this verse (“coming on the clouds of heaven”) makes this point much clearer .
Witnessing Christ’s judgment is seeing the evidence of Christ’s rule from heaven, at the right hand of God, coming on the clouds of heaven. This “coming on the clouds of heaven” is a reference to both Christ’s taking his position on the throne of heaven, and his ruling from that throne in the execution of judgment. Jesus, again speaking like one of the Old Testament prophets, cloaks his language in Hebraic apocalyptic imagery. Daniel, in similar language, speaks of the Messiah coming on the clouds of heaven as taking his seat at the right hand of God; being given dominion, glory, and a kingdom to rule over.

"I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. (Dan 7:13-14 NKJV )

Jesus himself when speaking on another occasion made reference to his “coming on the clouds” as evidence that he is the Christ; sitting at the right hand of God and ruling with power in executing judgment.

And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him,"I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matt 26:62-64 NKJV)


Luke, recoding the same event that Matthew does, is very helpful and clears up some of the apocalyptic language. Luke is writing to a gentile audience and he takes the liberty to interpret some of Jesus’ Hebraic utterances so that they can understand.

As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, 67 "If You are the Christ, tell us." But He said to them, ". . . Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” (Luke 22:66-69 NKJV)

Luke leaves out the apocalyptic utterance “coming on the clouds of heaven” and simply gives us the basic meaning of that utterance (i.e., sitting at the right hand of God with power). There are some nuances in the Hebraic language and imagery of “coming on the clouds”, but the clearest use of the language in scripture concerns the ability and power to execute judgment from heaven. The Old Testament records God himself coming on (literally “riding on”) clouds to judge nations. This power was given to Christ, and he reveals this in his coming with power and glory in judgment against Jerusalem.
When the people of that generation see the execution of Christ’s judgment, the complete destruction of the temple and city, they also see that Jesus is the Christ, ruling from heaven
 

MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
Some things I am pointing out from clip:

- The sign of Christ's coming was the judgment against Jerusalem and the temple
- the "as lightning" remarks about Jesus' coming were in referece to the clear visible judgment and wrath poured out against Jerusalem...(not the visible appearing of his body in a supposed bodily coming 1000s of years later)

And very importanlty:
- The making a distinction (and comparison) between the "as lighning" coming and the "sign of the son of man will appear in heaven" coming. Not that these are two seperate comings, but, only that the one is the sign (evidence) of the other...The sign of the son of man in heaven, is evidenced by the "as lightning" coming, i.e., the Judgment against Jerusalem.
- the "coming on the clouds" is a refernece to Christ's rule from heaven at the right hand of God...proof of this rule is the judgment against Jerusalem.
 

MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman

Thanks.

YX
Would you agree then that the sign of Christ's coming was the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem (as is stated in Matthew 24:2-3, and Luke 17)...and that this signs signification is Christ in heaven, ruling and reigning and "coming on clouds" of judgment against the nations?

Also, as a cross reference, John describes this in Rev. 19
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in [4] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

John, seeing "heaven opened" was NOT witnessing a future visible event...but rather was seeing the role of Christ, ruling and reigning from the right hand of God. He comes in judgment (coming on clouds) against nations, by his word he strikes them down.
 

InevitablyReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
Matthew 24 has always kind of confused me. I think I understand what you are saying with the sign of Jesus' coming being the destruction of Jerusalem.

Are there any reformed theologians who have a similar view?

Some things I am pointing out from clip:

- The sign of Christ's coming was the judgment against Jerusalem and the temple
- the "as lightning" remarks about Jesus' coming were in referece to the clear visible judgment and wrath poured out against Jerusalem...(not the visible appearing of his body in a supposed bodily coming 1000s of years later)

And very importanlty:
- The making a distinction (and comparison) between the "as lighning" coming and the "sign of the son of man will appear in heaven" coming. Not that these are two seperate comings, but, only that the one is the sign (evidence) of the other...The sign of the son of man in heaven, is evidenced by the "as lightning" coming, i.e., the Judgment against Jerusalem.
- the "coming on the clouds" is a refernece to Christ's rule from heaven at the right hand of God...proof of this rule is the judgment against Jerusalem.
 

YXU

Puritan Board Freshman

Thanks.

YX
Would you agree then that the sign of Christ's coming was the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem (as is stated in Matthew 24:2-3, and Luke 17)...and that this signs signification is Christ in heaven, ruling and reigning and "coming on clouds" of judgment against the nations?

Also, as a cross reference, John describes this in Rev. 19
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in [4] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

John, seeing "heaven opened" was NOT witnessing a future visible event...but rather was seeing the role of Christ, ruling and reigning from the right hand of God. He comes in judgment (coming on clouds) against nations, by his word he strikes them down.

Mr. Atkins,

According to my knowledge, this is the most faithful interpretation of this portion of scripture.

How is your view over the proof texts used by the Westminster divines as to the Pope as the man of lawlessness and so on?

Regards,

Xu
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Mat 24:30 καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆς.

The bold portion goes (literally):
And then it shall appear the sign (nominative/subject) of the Son of (the) Man (genitive) in (the) heaven (dative),...

I agree that the dative should NOT be separated from the foregoing, as in the translations that render this way: "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven,..." for the reasons given by others--as if the dative were indicating the location of "the sign" up in the sky someplace.

No, but as has already been argued (properly, in my opinion) the correct presentation is this: "And then [the sign of the Son of Man in heaven] will appear,..." that is to say, all the modifiers of "the sign" go together, and they express the idea that the Son of Man is IN heaven. The "sign" or "proof" of THE FACT is the fulfillment of his word of judgment. When it comes true, he is vindicated again, this time to his enemies' consternation.

Yes, Jesus really is ascended to the heavenly throne. And he's "coming on the clouds of heaven." This is also NOT some "sign," visible in the sky. This is OT terminology for a divine intervention or coming (note Dan 7:13; cf. Ps. 104:3). In other words, again this is a statement about Jesus being accorded divine honors, and exercising divine justice. And he doesn't need to swoop down in one of those "flaming chariots" to make his point.
 

Brother John

Puritan Board Sophomore
Mr. Atkins,

According to my knowledge, this is the most faithful interpretation of this portion of scripture.

How is your view over the proof texts used by the Westminster divines as to the Pope as the man of lawlessness and so on?

Regards,

Xu[/QUOTE]

I am intrested to read your response about the Pope.

Also is there any brothers that could let me know how the "historiscist" interpret and understand this verse?
 

MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
Mat 24:30 καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆς.

The bold portion goes (literally):
And then it shall appear the sign (nominative/subject) of the Son of (the) Man (genitive) in (the) heaven (dative),...

I agree that the dative should NOT be separated from the foregoing, as in the translations that render this way: "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven,..." for the reasons given by others--as if the dative were indicating the location of "the sign" up in the sky someplace.

No, but as has already been argued (properly, in my opinion) the correct presentation is this: "And then [the sign of the Son of Man in heaven] will appear,..." that is to say, all the modifiers of "the sign" go together, and they express the idea that the Son of Man is IN heaven. The "sign" or "proof" of THE FACT is the fulfillment of his word of judgment. When it comes true, he is vindicated again, this time to his enemies' consternation.

Yes, Jesus really is ascended to the heavenly throne. And he's "coming on the clouds of heaven." This is also NOT some "sign," visible in the sky. This is OT terminology for a divine intervention or coming (note Dan 7:13; cf. Ps. 104:3). In other words, again this is a statement about Jesus being accorded divine honors, and exercising divine justice. And he doesn't need to swoop down in one of those "flaming chariots" to make his point.

Bruce
This post of yours is greatly appreciated...I have virtually no skills in the Greek, other then the help of a few tools that are at my disposal.
Thanks for the input!
 

MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
Matthew 24 has always kind of confused me. I think I understand what you are saying with the sign of Jesus' coming being the destruction of Jerusalem.

Are there any reformed theologians who have a similar view?

I think Matt. 24 is extremely important, being it not only deals with the explicit eschatoligical teaching of Christ himself, but, it also directly relates to his ministry. The destruction of the temple, and those things foretoled in Matt. 24 are an essential part of the ministy and work of the messiah.

Just look at all the scriptures, saying's of Jesus, and parables that lead up to Matt. 24. Thus, Matt. 24 is not new material being presented by Christ, it is the climax of all his previous teachings in regards to the kingdom of God.
I think Matt. 24 may be confusing to you because you may view it as seperate from the rest of the teachings in the gospel.

Another snip from my paper which may be helpful.
Matthew does not present entirely new material in the twenty fourth chapter of his gospel; rather he records a climactic discourse of much of what Jesus had already taught. This discourse is especially related to Jesus’ teachings after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The teachings of Jesus take a slight turn in emphasis once he enters Jerusalem. Readers of the gospel should take careful notice how much emphasis Jesus places upon Jerusalem and the Jews. Jesus almost specifically teaches about the kingdom of God as it relates to them. The following is a list of events that coincide with these teachings:

1. Cursing the fig tree for not bearing fruit (a picture of Israel)
2. Jesus teaches parables against the Pharisee’s
3. Jesus cleanses the temple and condemns the people for making it a market
4. The Jewish leaders officially challenge Jesus
5. Jesus is tested with questions by the Pharisee, Scribes, and Lawyers
6. There are attempts to trap Jesus in his teaching
7. Jesus pronounces seven woes against the Jewish leaders
8. The temple is pronounced desolate
9. Jesus leaves the temple and foretells its destruction

Some of the scriptures preceding Mathew 24 which need to be kept in mind are:
Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast when those who were invited to the wedding feast did not come and it is said “But when the king heard about it, he was furious; and he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (Matt 22:7).

Jesus’ parable of the vineyard where those to whom it was given to tend ended up killing the owners son and Jesus asks what the owner will do them and it is said “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons" (Matt 21:41). Jesus pronounces the final judgment against Jerusalem and the Jews when he states:


How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth. . . . Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . .” (Matt 23:33-37)

The final judgment against apostate Israel and Jerusalem is clearly taught in these and other like scriptures. This judgment is foundational to the exegesis of Matthew 24 where Jesus describes the details. Jesus’ Olivet discourse is the climactic description of all he had taught concerning the judgment that was to come upon that generation.

Note: Also, Old Testament scriptures prophecy the events of Matt. 24 as part of the ministry and coming of Christ. (e.g., Daniel 9:26 “And the people of the [anointed] Prince who is to come [i.e., messiah] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary)



Are there any reformed theologians who have a similar view?

Depends on what you mean by "Reformed Theologians"...if you mean theologians that are reformed, or calvinistic in thier soteriology, which would include modern "reformed" theologians, like say RC Sproul...then I would say "Yes!"...there are, in my opinion, plenty who would agree with the general ideas expressed in my exegesis.
If you mean "reformed theologian" as a theologian of the reformation time period (e.g., John Owen), then my answer would be, "no, not as a general consensus"...most people, at that time were heavily influenced by the happenings of the time, (the Roman Church, Persection, etc.) and I believe that skewed the exegesis of some in regards to eschatololgy...but...remember these reformers were very, very, concerned with the essential doctrines of faith, justification, etc...they put all there energy, in my opinion, on essentials (eschatology was on the back burner).

But there were some at that time who I think would agree with my exegesis...(e.g., John Lightfoot [1602-1675] "The foregoing verses (matt. 24) are not to be understood of the last judgment, but, as we said, of the destruction of Jerusalem")
 

MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
How is your view over the proof texts used by the Westminster divines as to the Pope as the man of lawlessness and so on?

Some of the reformers erred in their eschatology because of the happenings of thier day..The domination of the RC and the corrupt popes over the word, the persecution of the saints by both church and state, the forbidding of the word of God to be translated, even the black plague, etc...Just like many people today err in interpreting scripture through modern events (eg. most "futurists" and "end times prophecy teachers" and "dooms dayers"). This is always going to be a problem in exegetics.
Also, as I noted in my previous post, the focus of the reformers were on more essential matters, eg. Justification by faith alone. These matters were the great matters and struggles of the day in regards to biblical study.

In view of these things I believe the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and other like denominations, were correct in removing from the confession the teaching that the Pope is the antichrist, the man of lawlesness that Paul describes.

Now I will say that the pope is a "type" of antichrist, and a type of a man of lawlessness. But, the reformers, and others, confuse type and anti-type here (I'm using the terms "type" and "anti-type" loosely in this context).
Eg., Benedict Arnold is a "type" of Judas....because of his betrayal.

But, as "anti-Christ" as a pope may be, he can never, in my opinion, exegetically fit the "man of sin" that Paul describes. Why not? Well, that is somewhat off topic here, but I have studied this and I will at least give you my opinion on the matter in a follow up post.
 
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MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
Man of Sin

Many people debate the "who" when considering Paul's man of sin...but, that is a question that must be secondary. The first question should be the "when" of the man of sin.
When was the man of sin to be revealed. I think that there is only one answer to that question when you consider the context of 2 Thessalonians. The "when" is the first century. And if this is determined by sound exegesis then that conclusion automatically disqualifies a large number of the possible "who is the man of sin"; it can't be a future world dictator, a president, a pope, etc.

The question of "who is the man of sin" becomes much easier to answer when we've determined the "when"

Chapter 1 of 2 Thessalonians
5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are [now] afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

This flows right into Paul's discussion on the man of sin.

Being this is getting somewhat off topic, rather then stating my whole argument, I will just give my conclusion.

In like manner that many see the Pope as the man of sin; I see the Jewish High Priest as the man of sin. This fits perfectly with the timing and the "when"...This apostate jewish High Priest was the head and representative of the apostate jewsih nation. He (as well as the apostate jews in general) was the great persecutor of the Church. He was the one "sitting in the temple of God"...he is the one who would be destroyed by fire, in representative fashion, when the temple was destroyed by fire, and the nation, when Christ inflicted his wrath upon them. He is the head of what Christ called the "wicked generation" and the head of "upon this generation will come all the blood shed in the land"

the lawless one . . whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming [In flaming fire]
2Thess 8

Per the conclusions I've drawn from Matt. 24...this "coming" was the coming judgment, in which Christ judged the nation with fire, the temple was destroyed with fire...and so was the man who sat in it. As Christ also pronounced Judgment to the high priest when he questioned Jesus:

And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him,"I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you [high priest], hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven [fiery judgment]." (Matt 26:62-64 NKJV)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
My view on 2Thess2, and the "man of sin," is that he is more of an eschatological figure. I do not correlate 2Thess teaching on (final) judgment and Mat24.
 

MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
Paul had taught the Thessalonians about the coming of the Lord before. I'm not sure Paul had any "final judgment" in mind in regards to the end of the world, or heaven and earth fleeing away before the "great white throne judgment"
Why not?

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.2thessalonians

Again, Paul has already taught the thessolonians about the coming of the Lord and the judgment

5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?2thessalonians


Now, if Paul would have been teaching concerning these things before...that the "coming of the Lord" and the "fiery judgment", were equivalent to the "great white throne judgment" where heaven and earth disappear...Then why would the Thessalonians have ever thought that the Day of the Lord and the fiery judgment had already come? If it had come, if it was the "final judgment" in view here, then the Thessalonians would not of been around, neither would the world,,,they would of been in heaven before the great white throne.

I don't think the "final judgment" (or "white throne judgment") is in view here, nor would it fit with what Paul had previously taught the thessalonians concerning the day of the Lord (i.e., the fiery Judgment, the repaying of vengeance upon the enemies of the gospel, etc..)

Again, the Thessalonians would have never imagined that the "day of the Lord" had come, in Pauline eschatology, if Paul was teaching about "final judgment/white throne judgment" and the end of the world.

Thus, I see Pauline eschatology, and Matt. 24 as very related.

Just my opinion though.
 
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MOSES

Puritan Board Freshman
As a note to my last post, and, a turn back to the OP:

Many of the teachings of Jesus concerning the kingdom of God, the "final Judgment", and that which is found in Matt. 24, are all inter-related...and...they are consistent with Paul's teaching on the subject as well.

I think that the futurist paradigm has influenced many, and many end up following their hermeneutic. There are things that are clearly, in my opinion, related to the judgment against the apostles age, that nation, that people...but many apply these teachings to the "final judgment" (in our future) or "great white throne" judgment at the end of the world.
Thus, many of Christ's teachings concerning these matters are mis-understood.

Here is an example of confusing the "final judgment" Christ taught about...and our idea of a future "The Final Judgment" from our perspective.

Many make the following parable refer to a future "The Final Judgment" at the end of world history.


Matt 13:37-43 The Parable of the Wheat and Tares explained
37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
NKJV

Some thoughts:
Jesus is talking about the end of "this" age; the Jewish (oc) age in which he was living, which he say's the end of the age will come upon the disciples generation (per Matt.24) We have no choice but to interpret this passage at the time of the end of "that" age.

The good seeds are the sons of the Kingdom....the elect in Israel, e.g., the 11 disciples. and all who come to faith in the king of the kingdom, Jesus Christ, before judgment day (70ad).
The tares are the sons of the devil, the non-elect in Israel....Remember, Jesus told some pharisee's that they were "the children of the devil".

The harvest time is the end of the age.The times of the end of the age lasted 40 years...from the resurrection of Christ and him taking his seat as king...until 70ad when he judged the nation with the fires of hell.

The tares are gathered into the fiery furnace which is Jeruasalem (in her recieving of wrath). Jesus told his discples to flee Jerusalem....but history shows us that many non-christian apostate Jews were going into Jerusalem at the time just before it was burned with fire....Jerusalem was filled, the doors were shut literally...tons were trapped inside....and then the city was burned....and the tares were destroyed....Jerusalem, 70ad, is the furnace of fire.

The wheat was protected, the "wheat" the people of God were revealed, shining fourth in the kingdom, and the Church, the real bride of Christ was manifest....she went on, and goes on victorious, in all the earth...
But....the apostate jews, the tares....were utterly destroyed and are no more.

As I noted in a previous post, Jesus' teaching had great emphasis on the Jews, their nation, and the kingdom of God as it relates to them, as well as the judgment that was soon coming.
 
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