Question on Matthew 24

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tt1106

Puritan Board Freshman
LOL......I know this is probably a difficult question to answer, but I'm asking it anyway.

Matthew 24:30 refers to the second coming, right?

verse 34 says the generation won't pass away.....

So has the second coming occurred....(doubt it)

Was this referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD?
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
When you figure the Olivet Discourse out, let me know. It is one of the most puzzling passages in Scripture. The amil/postmil and partial preteristic understandings of the passage (both together) make the most sense to me, but that doesn't mean it makes sense, just that it makes more sense than any alternative I've heard. Still doesn't make sense. :sigh:

I can answer one of your questions, though. No, the second coming has not taken place yet. The question of the hour is, how much of the passage refers to AD 70, and how much is yet future?
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
(trying to do this from memory so sorry if goofed up)

The coming on the clouds is a reference in Daniel 9 where the Son of Man comes on clouds and sits beside the Ancient of Days.

Jesus is saying that the generation he was speaking to would not pass away until Christ would take his place at the right hand of the Father and reign from there.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
(trying to do this from memory so sorry if goofed up)

The coming on the clouds is a reference in Daniel 9 where the Son of Man comes on clouds and sits beside the Ancient of Days.

Jesus is saying that the generation he was speaking to would not pass away until Christ would take his place at the right hand of the Father and reign from there.

I have a difficult time accepting this view since it seems to me that the language is clearly intended to be apocalyptic, but I have no other alternative that makes any sense (the Dispensational view is pathetic), so the one you gave is the one I am stuck with. :)
 

Turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
I've heard preachers say "this generation" is the generation listening at that moment, and I've heard others say its refers to the generation seeing the signs He described (ie. once the "then" signs are seen it will be in that generation. In other words, after describing the great tribulation and assuring that those who endure to the end shall be saved, He gives them the assurance that the days are shortened and the generation that sees these signs and trouble will also see Him come and save them.). Generally I have observed some to take it to be an important marker of how quickly Christ had to come back and others still struggle to resolve it with the descriptions of events. 70 A.D. is a favorite topic of many.
:popcorn:
 

bug

Puritan Board Freshman
what are folk's thoughts on this understanding?

In words that have given rise to much controversy Jesus continues: 34, 35. I solemnly declare to you that this generation shall certainly not pass away until all this takes place. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away. For “I solemnly declare” see on 5:18. It is evident that these words are spoken with marked emphasis and impressive solemnity. The question, however, is, “Just what does Jesus mean when he says, “this generation,” and “all this” or “all these things”? The notion that “this generation” refers either to a. all mankind, or b. all believers, can be dismissed without much argumentation. Not only could such a remark be considered somewhat superfluous and therefore inconceivable as coming from the mouth of the Lord, but both of these interpretations are also out of line with the context. There is still another view that must be rejected, namely, “Before they die, the people living today are going to witness all these things, including even my coming on the clouds of the sky.” If that is the meaning, then Jesus was mistaken. But in view of verse 14 it is unreasonable to believe that Jesus could have meant anything of the kind.
There are, however, two interpretations that are worthy of serious consideration. According to the first, Jesus meant, “This generation shall not pass away until the events culminating in the fall of Jerusalem have occurred,” not necessarily meaning, “Everybody now alive will still be around by the year a.d. 70,” but simply, “The generation of our contemporaries shall not have died out by that time: some are still going to be alive.” In support of this interpretation one or more of the following arguments are usually presented: a. the term “this generation” elsewhere indicates “the people (specifically, the Jews) living today”; b. if “all this” of verse 33 refers to the events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem, why should not the identical expression in verse 34 have the same meaning?; and c. is not 16:28 a parallel passage?—It is not surprising that by the force of these arguments many805 have become convinced that this is indeed the meaning.
However, the interpretation thus offered is not without its difficulties, some of which are rather serious. Therefore S. E. Johnson (Interpreter’s Bible), commenting on this passage, states that its exact force “is uncertain”; and F. W. Grosheide, op. cit., pp. 369, 370 rejects this interpretation, as does also Lenski, op. cit., pp. 929, 930.
As to the arguments summarized above in its defense, the following counter arguments can be advanced:
As to a. By no means has it been established that the term “this generation” must be limited to contemporaries. It can also refer to “this kind of people”; for example, the Jews, at any time or in any age. Worthy of consideration in this connection are such passages as Deut. 32:5, 20; Ps. 12:7; 78:8; etc., where the LXX uses the same word as is here rendered “generation,” but evidently with a meaning that goes beyond “group of contemporaries.” Thus even in the New Testament (see Acts 2:40; Phil. 2:15; Heb. 3:10), though the starting point may well be a reference to the people of that particular day, this may not be the entire meaning. So also probably here in Matt. 24:34.
As to b. This argument may not be as decisive as it sounds. The point is: the verbs differ: “when you see all this” is not the same as “until all this takes place.” Jesus does not necessarily mean that his disciples shall see all that has been predicted and is going to take place.
As to c. The same reasoning applies to 16:28. That passage, too, refers to that which “some of those that are standing here” shall see. That is not necessarily as broad an expression as is “all this” or “all these things” that “shall take place.” It is not true, therefore, that 16:28 is an exact parallel of 24:34.
My reasons for leaning toward the view that here in verse 34 the Lord is declaring that the Jewish people shall not pass away until all the things which he has been predicting—events stretching all the way to, and including, the glorious second coming—have taken place, are the following:
First, as has already been indicated, the word “generation” may refer to “a kind of people or race,” in this case the Jews.
Secondly, in the preceding verses the centuries have already been spanned (see especially verses 9 and 14). Though the immediate disciples of Jesus are not going to “see” all this, yet these things—namely, the church being hated by all the nations, the gospel being preached throughout the world, etc.—belong to that which will “take place.”
Thirdly, the disciples had asked two questions, the first pertaining to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, the second with respect to Christ’s return. Would it not seem natural that verse 33 is part of the Master’s answer to the first question; and that verse 34 is his reply to the second?
Fourthly, the immediately following context, “But about that day and hour no one knows,” etc. (verse 36), refers to the day of Christ’s return upon the clouds with power and great glory, as has been shown (see p. 847). The further context (verses 37–39) also points to that same eschatological event (cf. Luke 17:26–30; II Peter 3:1–13).
Fifthly, the words of verse 35 also refer to the consummation of all things.
Finally, it is wrong to say that the idea “the people of the Jews will not be completely wiped out but will still be on earth when the Lord returns” was a matter that could be taken for granted, and hence was not in need of a solemn declaration. On the contrary, it might have seemed rather natural that those who, in spite of all their special privileges, rejected and crucified their own Messiah, would be wiped out as a nation. That this would not happen, but that, on the contrary, this people would continue to exist and that in every age their remnant, as well as that of the non-Jews, would be saved, was certainly worthy of special mention. At least Paul, by divine direction, was of that opinion (Rom. 11:1, 2, 25, 26); and because of the wonderful chain of events which this manifestation of God’s mercy would bring about, breaks out into a doxology (Rom. 11:33–36).806
The majestic statement, “My words shall never pass away,” deserves emphasis, for the abiding character of Christ’s message, over against the transient nature even of “heaven and earth” in their present condition, is the foundation on which faith can build. See also Isa. 40:8; John 15:7; Col. 3:16; I Peter 1:24, 25.

Hendriksen, William ; Kistemaker, Simon J.: New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1953-2001 (New Testament Commentary 9), S. 867
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Matthew 24

1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

2And 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, that shall not be thrown down.

3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand

16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

25Behold, I have told you before.

26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

37But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think the hinge of the interpretation is found in the meaning of "this generation." I have heard Hendrickson view espoused before. I do not believe "generation" to refer to the Jewish race. I will concede that "genea" can refer to a specific race (Luke 16:8 is a possibility), but it is not the norm. The norm would seem to interpret "genea" as a group of people in a specific time.

It is possible that this verse would use the abnormal interpretation, if we see Jesus as saying this generation will not pass before I return. I don't think this is what Jesus is saying. Jesus says he is coming the clouds. Luke's version of the passage says the Kingdom of God is near. Daniel 7 shows us that when Jesus comes in the clouds it is him coming to the right hand of the Father to receive his kingdom. So I don't think the view is of Jesus' final return, but rather the setting up of his kingdom.

Don't amils and postmils agree that Christ is reigning in his kingdom right now? So this interpretation would be in align with this view. This view makes no sense for a premil though.
 

tt1106

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks Boliver. I can see it from that perspective. Ok, help me puzzle this out. So, from an A-mill perspective (keep in mind, I barely know what this term means, let alone all the scripture support)The tirbulation would have probably been the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The coming on the clouds, is the ushering in of the age, where the coming with power and glory, could refer to the spread of the Gospel?

Thanks
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
This is a very difficult passage and I'm not certain of its interpretation. Nor am I able to with certainty argue the millennial view.

Like you, and probably many, it clearly appears to be speaking of the destruction of the Temple at Jersusalem at the beginning (the disciples are all looking down on it), and in 70AD we know that the Roman Legions used catapults with huge bolders to smash it to the ground (by Josephesus' account), thus "not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."

Yet along the way, the narrative appears clearly to transition to the second coming, "the end of this world" when the Lord returns as judge of all mankind. It's possible this could be a continued narrative of the destruction of the Temple and the end of the nation of Israel, but I've never read it that way. Only recently, has that ever even occurred as a possibility.

It's also possible there are two meanings alongside, applicable to both times.

But, in the end, I don't think amillennialism, premillennialism or even historical premillennialism requires either interpretation.

Amill, in particular, sees the millennial rule of our Lord realized now, begun with His ascension into Heaven, culminated at His return as judge with good and evil growing side by side, more and less at times, until that return. At least that's how I am understanding it.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Scott, where do you see the end of the world come into play?

Just asking before I respond further.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Chaplainintraining
Scott, where do you see the end of the world come into play?


The "end of the world" is a description used elsewhere in Scripture (and in the Westminster doctrinal summary) to describe the time when Jesus returns, raises all men and judges them.

So, for example:

Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter VIII
Of Christ the Mediator

[emphasis added]



I. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man,[1] the Prophet,[2] Priest,[3] and King,[4] the Head and Savior of His Church,[5] the Heir of all things,[6] and Judge of the world:[7] unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed,[8] and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.[9]

II. The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature,[10] with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;[11] being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.[12] So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.[13] Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.[14]

III. The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure,[15] having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;[16] in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell;[17] to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,[18] He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety.[19] Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father,[20] who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.[21]

IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake;[22] which that He might discharge, He was made under the law,[23] and did perfectly fulfil it;[24] endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul,[25] and most painful sufferings in His body;[26] was crucified, and died,[27] was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption.[28] On the third day He arose from the dead,[29] with the same body in which He suffered,[30] with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father,[31] making intercession,[32] and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.[33]

....
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ok, I understand what you are saying now.

Jesus talks about judgment falling on the Israelites for their treatment against God's prophets in the previous chapter. To me it seems that Jesus continues this train of thought. The destruction of the Temple is a judgment against the perverse generation. Jesus is not referring to the Final Judgment (just want to be clear that I am not aligning myself with hyperpreterists thinking there is no final judgment). Notice that he talks about the tribulation that the world has never seen. He also says, "nor never will." This implies that time continues after this tribulation.

Also notice that the disciples ask Jesus when was the end of this age. To me this points to the end of the Jewish age and the inauguration of Christ's reign.

I will say that I am not an expert in eschatology by any means. These are just the simple thoughts of a simple man trying to understand a complex matter.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The disciples ask Jesus what they think is a single question (re. destruction of Temple and the end of the world), and Jesus answers by dividing the question. So, he speaks to two issues the disciples were unable (originally) to separate in their minds.

How that separation then takes place in the context of the discourse is the hermeneutical question.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
So you would say the question, "when is the end of this age" is synonymous with "when is the end of the world?"
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Chaplainintraining
So you would say the question, "when is the end of this age" is synonymous with "when is the end of the world?"

Having re-read Matthew 24, I'm not seeing the phrase "end of this age." There are several references to "the end" and one to the "end of this world." Are you speaking of it in the context of this chapter or elsewhere?

(My understanding is "end of this age" could refer to what is sometimes called the "Jewish age," the time before God ended the nation of Israel in 70AD.)
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
So you would say the question, "when is the end of this age" is synonymous with "when is the end of the world?"
The end of the "aeon" can be variously translated.

The biblical (that is, the 1st cent. Jewish) understanding was that when Messiah came, his arrival and establishment of justice would ussher in the final, consummative period, New Heavens/New Earth, etc.

For such minds as the disciples represented, the Temple was something like the Messianic-kingdom's headquarters, a palace for the Messiah, the place where the Twelve would all have corner offices with great views. Jesus comment that "Not one stone will remain standing atop another" must have sounded astonishing.

But assuming they had heard correctly, his coming/entrance in final judgment would be sooner than they thought, and the Temple's removal was something that had to be associated with the end of this present reality.
 

Turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
What's included

What is included in "all these things"? And are the two "all these things" different?

When ye shall see all these things(v.33), ..... This generation shall not pass until all these things(v.34) be fulfilled.

I don't think one can see or group all the signs and all the fulfillments at the same time into one exact synonymous group (otherwise the sign of some pending fulfillment would not be a sign:D), but certainly one could see "all these things" (signs) and "all these things" (fulfillments) both in the same generation.


Bryan
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
So, what this sounds like, never thought of it this way but as I read Matthew 24... maybe.

The Jewish disciples still were laboring under the assumption that the world would end with a political Messiah coming back to establish some sort of world capital at Jerusalem to reign from there and that when that happened, the world, the "age" would end.

So, Jesus telling them the Temple would be destroyed, THEN there would be great tribulation,THEN He would return must have been astounding.

That would mean they could grasp Him returning as rightful judge of all men, Jew and Gentile, believer and unbeliever.

It still sounds more of a natural reading, perhaps without that context, to understand "the end" and "the end of the world" as the time of His return (second coming, judgment).

It's particularly difficult to conceive of verses 4 to 14 talking about things that would happen only in Israel before the Roman Legions under General Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I was referring to Matt. 24:3. ESV translates it as "close of the age." I am nowhere near a Greek scholar (still in Baby Greek class), so I can't comment on the various ways aion is translated. I can only say that the greek dictionaries I have define the term as "a unit of time" or "a world system."
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Preliminary to discussing these issues, I’d like to briefly introduce some commentators and their views, to show the reasonableness of their approaches, though they differ somewhat. I favor Leon Morris’ view, but I won’t be dogmatic about it.

I think Pastor Bruce in post #19 answered well with regard to “aeon”. Jesus said in Matt 28:20, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the aeon” – age, or world. Generally speaking, there are two ages: this present age, and the age to come – the eternal state (cf. Matt 12:32)


Leon Morris

[O]thers have suggested that the generation is the Jewish nation (it means “not just the first generation after Jesus but all the generations of Judaism that reject him,” Schweizer, p. 458; so also Ryle, Hendriksen, and others) and point to its continuation through the centuries...

We should notice that in the Old Testament the term [generation] is sometimes used for a kind of person, as when we read of “the generation of the righteous” (Ps. 14:5) or “the generation of those who seek him” (Ps. 24:6). From passages like this some have taken Jesus to mean that the church will survive to the end (e.g., Green). But the term is also used of the wicked, as when the Psalmist prays, “guard us ever from this generation” (Ps. 12:7); or it may refer to “the generation of his wrath” (Jer. 7:29). If this is its meaning, Jesus is saying that this kind of person, “this generation,” will not cease until the fulfillment of his words. It is perhaps relevant to notice that a little earlier Jesus said of people to whom he was speaking, “you killed” Zechariah (23:35), a statement that implies the solidarity of the race through the years. Mounce draws attention to the phenomenon of multiple fulfilment. He points out that the “abomination of desolation” had one fulfilment in the desecration effected by Antiochus Epiphanes and another in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies. “In a similar way, the events of the immediate period leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem portend a greater and more universal catastrophe when Christ returns in judgment at the end of time.” Right up to the time when all these things happen there will be people of the same stamp as those who rejected Jesus while he lived on earth. (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, pp. 612, 613)​


D.A. Carson

In my understanding of the Olivet Discourse, the disciples think of Jerusalem’s destruction and the eschatological end as a single complex web of events. This accounts for the form of their questions. Jesus warns them there will be a delay before the End—a delay characterized by persecution and tribulation for all his followers (vv. 4-28), but with one particularly violent display of judgment in the Fall of Jerusalem (vv. 15-21); Mark 13:14-20); Luke 21:20-24). Immediately after the days of that sustained persecution characterizing the interadvent period comes the Second Advent (vv. 29-31; cf. Guthrie, NT Theology, pp. 795-96). The warning in vv. 32-35 describes the whole tribulation period, from the Ascension to the Second Advent. The tribulation period will certainly come, and the generation to which Jesus is speaking will experience all its features that point to the Lord’s return...

“This generation” (see on 11:16; 12:41-42; 23:36); cf. 10:23; 16:28) can only with the greatest difficulty be made to mean anything other than the generation living when Jesus spoke. Even if “generation” by itself can have a slightly larger semantic range, to make “this generation” refer to all believers in every age, or the generation of believers alive when eschatological events start to happen, is highly artificial. Yet it does not follow that Jesus mistakenly thought the Parousia would occur within his hearers’ lifetime. If our interpretation of this chapter is right, all that v. 34 demands is that the distress of vv. 2-28, 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. Therefore v. 34 sets a terminus a quo [a starting point in time] for the Parousia: it cannot happen till the events in vv. 4-28 take place, all within a generation of A.D. 30. But there is no terminus ad quem [a final limiting point in time] to this distress other than the Parousia itself, and “only the Father” knows when it will happen (v. 36). (D.A. Carson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 8: Matthew]/i], pp. 495, 507)



John Calvin

This generation shall not pass away. Though Christ employs a general expression, yet he does not extend the discourses to all the miseries which would befall the Church, but merely informs them, that before a single generation shall have been completed, they will learn by experience the truth of what he has said. For within fifty years the city was destroyed and the temple was razed, the whole country was reduced to a hideous desert, and the obstinacy of the world rose up against God. Nay more, their rage was inflamed to exterminate the doctrine of salvation, false teachers arose to corrupt the pure gospel by their impostures, religion sustained amazing shocks, and the whole company of the godly was miserably distressed. Now though the same evils were perpetrated in uninterrupted succession for many ages afterwards, yet what Christ said was true, that, before the close of a single generation, believers would feel in reality, and by undoubted experience, the truth of his prediction; for the apostles endured the same things which we see in the present day. And yet it was not the design of Christ to promise to his followers that their calamities would be terminated within a short time, (for then he would have contradicted himself, having previously warned them that the end was not yet;) but, in order to encourage them to perseverance, he expressly foretold that those things related to their own age. The meaning therefore is: “This prophecy does not relate to evils that are distant, and which posterity will see after the lapse of many centuries, but which are now hanging over you, and ready to fall in one mass, so that there is no part of it which the present generation will not experience.” So then, while our Lord heaps upon a single generation every kind of calamities, he does not by any means exempt future ages from the same kind of sufferings, but only enjoins the disciples to be prepared for enduring them all with firmness. (John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke, Vol. 3 [online edition]).​


With regard to the structure of the Lord’s Olivet discourse, understanding the phenomenon of prophetic foreshortening, also referred to as double or multiple fulfillment of prophecy, helps to make clearer sense of the passage.

William Hendriksen

By the process of prophetic foreshortening, by means of which before one’s eyes the widely separated mountain peaks of historic events merge and are seen as one, as has been explained in connection with 10:23 and 16:28, two momentous events are here intertwined, namely, a. the judgment upon Jerusalem (its fall in the year A.D. 70), and b. the final judgment at the close of the world’s history. Our Lord predicts the city’s approaching catastrophe as a type of the tribulation at the end of the dispensation. Or, putting it differently, in describing the brief period of great tribulation at the close of history, ending with the final judgment, Jesus is painting in colors borrowed from the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, pp. 846-7

From what immediately follows [Matt 24:21, 22] it is evident once again that for Jesus the transition from the second to the third application of Daniel’s prediction was as easy as that from the first (the tribulation experienced by God’s people during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes) to the second (the distress in connection with the fall of Jerusalem . . . [see vv. 21 and 22] . . . As to the “great tribulation” to which Jesus here refers, care should be exercised. Rev. 7:14 also speaks about a “great tribulation.” Are these two the same? The answer is: they are not. As the context in Revelation 7 indicates, the word is used there in a far more general sense. Because of his faith every genuine child of God experiences tribulation during his life on earth. See John 16:33; cf. Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim 3:12. But Jesus is here speaking about a tribulation that will characterize “those days,” a tribulation that has never been and never again shall be, a very brief period of dire distress that shall occur immediately before his return (see verses 29-31). It is the period mentioned also in Rev. 11:7-9; 20:3b, 7-9a. For the sake of God’s chosen ones... in order that not all might have to die a violent death, the days of the final tribulation shall be cut short. Herein, too, the love of God is made manifest. It should hardly be necessary to add that justice is not done to the concept of this tribulation, which immediately precedes “the end” of the world’s history and which surpasses any other distress in its intensity, if it is referred solely to the sorrows experienced during the fall of Jerusalem. (Hendriksen, ibid, pp. 859, 860)​


I want to add something from Kim Riddlebarger’s, The Man of Sin, with regard to “double fulfillment” in Matt 24 – called by KR, “prophetic perspective” – but it’s late in my part of the world, and I’ll try to get to it tomorrow.
 

reformedminister

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am an amillennialist and agree with many that the text can be confusing. My personal opinion about "this generation" is that it was talking about a literal generation of people (the people living at that particular time). I believe that most of the prophecies were in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem and that all of them were partially fulfilled at that time, except Christ's second coming.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As it has been stated in some above posts that the 24th chapter of Matthew – what is known as Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, where He spoke prophetically to the disciples about things to come – is confusing (and it certainly can be!), I post here a section of one of Kim Riddlebarger’s books so as to give conceptual tools to aid in understanding this crucial passage of Scripture.


Kim Riddlebarger

Prophetic Perspective and the Abomination of Desolation

Understanding the way in which several key prophecies regarding the Antichrist are framed in the New Testament is important to interpreting them correctly. It is my contention that several of the prophecies (especially in Daniel) regarding Antichrist and his predecessors involve double fulfillment, which simply refers to the fact that certain prophecies are fulfilled more than once. Such prophecies are usually connected to an immediate or imminent fulfillment in the lifetime of the prophet and again to a more distant fulfillment in the messianic age (at our Lord’s first or second advent). This phenomenon is also known as “prophetic perspective.” The prophet foretells what appears to be a single event in his immediate future, but as redemptive history unfolds, it becomes clear that there are multiple fulfillments of the original prophecy. This is true with the biblical data predicting the coming of an end-times foe of God’s people—the Antichrist.

Before we discuss what Jesus meant when he predicted an act of sacrilege that would bring about the desolation of the Jerusalem temple—the so-called “abomination of desolation”—we need to understand that a number of Old Testament prophecies, along with certain aspects of the prophecy Jesus uttered in the Olivet Discourse, have more than one fulfillment.

According to Herman Ridderbos, many biblical prophecies refer to “things that appear to be centuries apart in the fulfillment [and] are sometimes comprehended by Jesus’ prophecy in the same temporal frame and within the same local framework.” According to Ridderbos, such prophecy is “something different than a diary of future events. . . . The function of prophecy is consequently not that of a detailed projection of the future, but is the urgent insistence on the certainty of the things to come. This explains why, at the end of the vista, the perspective is lacking. The prophet sees all kinds of events that will come and he sees in all of them the coming of God. But he cannot fix a date for the events, he cannot distinguish all phases in God’s coming. To him it is one great reality.” (Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, 523-25)

This is an important point. The prophet is not concerned with when certain things will come to pass but with the fact that they will come to pass. Keeping this in mind as we look at the biblical data regarding Antichrist will explain how Daniel can predict more than one event in a single prophecy—for example, the prophecy of a great blasphemer in Daniel 11, which refers to to both Antiochus IV (Dan. 11:21-35) and the Antichrist at the time of the end (Dan. 11:36-45).

A number of commentators believe that this telescoping of imminent and future fulfillment (prophetic perspective or double fulfillment) is found in several of the prophetic books of the Old Testament. It is also found in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), in which our Lord sets forth his most comprehensive teaching regarding future events. Some of these are fulfilled by the events of AD 70, while others remain to be fulfilled at the end of the age. The events associated with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple may also serve as a type (a foreshadowing) of a universal and final cataclysm (antitype) at the end of the age. The imminent desolation of the holy place (the Jerusalem temple) by the armies of Titus in AD 70, predicted by our Lord in Matthew 24:15, fulfills Daniel’s prophecy of such an event (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). But the actions of Titus’s armies actually fulfill Daniel’s prophecy a second time—Antiochus IV was the first to make the holy place desolate in 167 BC. Antiochus erected an altar to Zeus on the altar of Yahweh, and then some two hundred years later the armies of Titus started a fire in the temple before looting its sacred objects, profaning the temple and leaving it desolate a second time. This is what Daniel predicted and what Jesus restates. As Vos says, it is plain “that Jesus shaped the matter in his mind after the same fashion” as the desecration of the Jerusalem temple by Antiochus, “only he projects the horrible event from the past in which it had once taken place into a future beyond his own point of speaking.” (Vos, Pauline Eschatology, 95) But Jesus’ mention of the “abomination of desolation” may also function as a prophetic picture of what will happen at the end of the age on a universal scale in Christ’s church. If this is the case, Daniel’s prophecy is not only fulfilled by Antiochus IV’s desecration of the temple in 167 BC but again by Titus and his Roman legions in AD 70, and them possibly again on a universal scale by an end-times Antichrist.

Prophetic perspective is clearly found throughout the Olivet Discourse. Take, for example, our Lord’s warning to his disciples in Matthew 24:4-13, where Jesus speaks of false christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes before stating in verse 14 that the gospel must be preached to the whole world as a testimony. In verses 4-13, Jesus is speaking of events that will happen in the lifetime of the disciples; then he immediately jumps ahead to the time of the end in verse 14, seen in the reference to the universal preaching of the gospel to the ends of the earth, affirming the missionary calling of Christ’s church (Matt. 28:16-20).

The same thing can be seen when Jesus speaks of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army. When Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he warns the disciples, “The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone standing on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:43-44). In Luke 21:20, Jesus is even more specific about what will happen to Jerusalem: “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.” This is clearly a prophetic prediction of an imminent event within the lifetime of the disciples, namely, the Jewish War so graphically detailed by Josephus. Says Jesus, “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). That Jesus is predicting the imminent events of AD 70 and the Jewish diaspora is indisputable.

In Matthew’s account Jesus is also speaking of an imminent fulfillment when he warns his disciples about a particular aspect of the desolation coming upon Israel’s temple:

So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation,” spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled 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. (Matthew 24:15-22)​

Once again, the reference to the desolation of the temple (“the abomination that causes desolation”) and a time of unequalled distress for the city of Jerusalem is a prediction of the events of AD 70. The desolation and profanation of the temple, coupled with the siege of Jerusalem by skilled and combat-hardened Roman legions, is the worst cataclysm ever to come upon Jerusalem, and, according to Jesus, it will never be equaled again. The desolation of Israel and the dispersion of the Jews to the ends of the earth is a great tragedy.

Notice that later in that same discourse Jesus telescopes his attention to the time of the end of the age (Matt. 24:29). Only then does Jesus go on to tell his disciples, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 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” (Matt. 24:30-31). Jesus speaks of an imminent event (the destruction of Jerusalem) and future events (the end of the age and his second advent) in what is a virtually seamless manner.

In light of the tension between things imminent and things future, Charles Cranfield has pointed out that “neither an exclusively historical nor an exclusively eschatological interpretation is satisfactory. . . . We must allow for a double reference, for a mingling of historical and eschatological.” (C.E.B. Cranfield, The Gospel According to Saint Mark, 401-2) Thus when Jesus speaks of an abominating sacrilege, he is likely not only predicting the events of AD 70, he may also be speaking of events that occur at the time of the end—especially if the apostle Paul is speaking of the same thing when the apostle refers to “the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:3-4). This connection, Vos believes, enables us to draw a line from Daniel to both Jesus and Paul and provides the continuity necessary to make sense of what would otherwise be three unrelated streams of data in the New Testament regarding the Antichrist (Vos, op. cit., p. 96). This is also the view of Anthony Hoekema in his influential statement and defense of Reformed amillennialism, The Bible and the Future (pp. 137-63). This seems to make the best sense of the passage and allows us to take seriously Jesus’ utilization of prophetic perspective. (Kim Riddlebarger, The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist, pp. 68-72)​


As the Book of Daniel is so interwoven in the prophecies of Jesus in the Gospels, and in the Book of Revelation, I want to recommend a simple, brief, and clear exposition in accord with both Riddlebarger and with the books on Revelation I spoke of in the Babylon thread (⇐ link), and that is Stuart Olyott’s, Dare To Stand Alone: Daniel Simply Explained. There are other excellent Reformed commentaries which go into great detail, but Olyott’s stands alone for brief, understandable, and sound exposition.
 
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Spinningplates2

Puritan Board Freshman
Does not have to be hard.

Many struggle to make their favored system work into Matt. 24 to no avail. Many of these same people are the ones who will loudest preach that we should read the Bible clearly and plainly when it can be read that way. Our Lord made a statement that "this generation" will not not pass away until certain things happened. All of those things happened; including His return to judge "this wicked" generation, that is the generation who turned the Son away. (read all the parables that tell what will happen to those who turn the Son away)

Why were so many people afraid in the Epistles that Christ had already returned? Because the could read the Gospel and knew that if Christ was telling the truth then he would have to return in around 40 years. The book of Hebrews makes perfect sense if read as a warning to not for get Christ's warning and stay faithful.

Christ said He would return "coming on the clouds." This happened three times in the OT and each time it was God using a army to destroy a city. God said He destroyed the city but He used the army to do His will.

Brothers, please read Dr. Gentry and let's stop reading these verses by stating, "well it could sometimes mean," or, "one time it meant this!"

The destruction of Jerusalem is one greatest proofs that Christ is as great a prophet as he is King.
 

Turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
Hated of All Nations

...Prophetic Perspective ...


"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." Matt 24:9

Perhaps some would be content that Rome represented "all nations" in 70 AD. Some might also find it interesting that the whore will be hated, of what appears to be all nations, in Rev 17:16.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Marcellus Kik's pretty good on the Olivet Discourse.

It may be divided in two:-

A: 24:4 - 24:35 concerning the Destruction of Jerusalem being the sign that Christ had come into His Kingdom i.e. had received the ends of the Earth from His Father, and not just little Palestina, as the Romans called it. See Daniel 7.

B: 24:36 - 25:46 concerning Christ's Second Advent at the Eschaton and also His Coming in Death, which is the End of the World and Gospel "opportunity" for most of mankind.

In Matthew 24:23 - 27 Jesus tells the disciples that He is not returning at the AD 70 juncture, at least in any literal and visible sense. Matt. 24:27, when Christ returns at the Eschaton He will be seen by all. This is not to happen when the Temple is left desolate and defiled by idolatry.

In Matthew 24:15 -20 parallelled with the passage in Luke he warns his disciples to flee Jerusalem when they see the Roman armies biesieging it. That is why it is important for "the reader to understand", so he/she can get away and not be deceived by those who say that the Romans will be defeated.

Christ tells his disciples that these things will happen in "this generation" v.24. By contrast "That Day" i.e. His Second Advent is unknown even to His own humanity at this moment.

Instead of giving various temporal indicators of His Second Advent as He did with His Coming into possession of His Mediatorial Kingdom, the Whole Earth, He teaches about His Second Advent by means of parallels with the Days of Noah (vv. 37 - 39); prophetic realism (vv. 40-42) and five parables (vv. 43 -51; 25:1 -13; 25:14 - 30 ; 25:31 -46).

The Destruction of Jerusalem is a pointer and a foretste of God's judgment through Christ at the End of Time, but is actually also the sign that Christ's Mediatorial Millennial Reign over the whole Earth has commenced.

The Ark of the Covenant, i.e. Christ, is "seen" in the Heavenly Temple as it "opens for business" , as the earthly Temple is shut down for good (Revelation 11:19).

The latter - the destruction, defilement and desolation of the Jews' temple, i.e. "the abomination that causes desolation" - is also the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven.
 
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