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Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:29-35 – Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

|| Mark 13:24-31; Luke 21:25-33

MT24:29 “But immediately after the oppression[1] of those days {LK21:25 there will be signs in sun and moon and stars:} the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light[2] and the stars will fall from the heaven[3] and the heavenly dynamics will be shaken.[4] [Isaiah 13:10] {LK21:25 And upon the earth anguish of nations in perplexity (noise of an agitated sea)[5] LK21:26 men fainting from fear[6] and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.} MT24:30 And then there will appear[7] in the sky the sign of the Son of Humankind.[8] [Daniel 12:1; Isaiah 11:12] Then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation.[9] They will see the Son of Humankind[10] coming on the clouds of the sky[11] [Daniel 7:13, 22; 12:1] with power and much glory.[12] {LK21:28 But as these things start to occur[13] rise and look upward[14] because your deliverance is drawing near.[15]} MT24:31 And the Son of Humankind will send off his angels[16] with a great trumpet[17] and they will gather his Chosen Ones[18] from the four winds[19] {MK13:27 from the extremity of earth to heaven’s extremity} from one extreme of the sky to another extreme.[20] [Isaiah 11;12] MT24:32 {MK13:28} But learn from the fig tree,[21] {LK21:29 and all the trees,} this parable: when the branch becomes tender and the tender leaves begin to sprout you know that summer is already near. MT24:33 {MK13:29} So, also, when you see these things you will know that he is near at the doors.[22] {LK21:31 Know the Kingdom of God is near![23]} MT24:34 I tell you this truth: this generation will not pass away[24] until all these things occur. MT24:35 {LK21:33} The heaven and the earth will pass away[25] but my words will never pass away.[26]

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[1] Immediately after the oppression: An interesting and perplexing problem develops here which has been interpreted in various ways. Jesus has been dealing wholly with Jerusalem up to this point and what follows with regard to the Great Oppression can also apply to the years 66 to 70. Remembering Jesus admits to not knowing “the day and hour” when he says “immediately after” he may mean what occurs next in the prophetic stream of events, telescoping centuries or millenniums to the next important occurrence. Paul does something like this at 1 Corinthians 15:23, 24 where his words EPEITA (then) and EITA (next) may span more than a thousand years.

On the other hand, there may be an overlap as the Nazarene moves from the subject of Jerusalem’s “end” and now on to the Parousia. The events of Daniel 12:1, 2, 7 have not all been completely fulfilled. Precisely, there has been no resurrection or judgment. Thirty years after the destruction of Jerusalem the Apocalypse paraphrases Luke 21:24 with another application of three and a half years (Revelation 11:2; 13:5-7; see also Daniel 7:18-22). So there may a device used here as a transition or pivot of thought as Jesus uses this point of the Great Oppression to shift to the subject of the Parousia. Following the verse about the oppression Jesus never uses the word “end” as he has not used “arrival” (or, parousia) before the Great Oppression.

[2] The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light: One way for God to get everyone’s attention at once is to turn out the lights, something only He could do. Obviously when Christ returns as described in the following verses it will be night on one side of the planet where mankind would be in different degrees of sleep (Luke 17:34). If the moon and stars are bedarkened the news of this will flash like lightning. Certainly it will not be longer than a dozen hours or so (except above the Arctic Circle) before this phenomenon comes to the attention of virtually everyone. Such a dark background provides a perfect backdrop for the “sign” about to appear causing the entire globe to break out in great lamentation. Jesus draws this picture from various sources which may have to do with a gloomy or dark situation: the fire and smoke from a burning city, or literal sights (Compare Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Amos 8:9; Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:12, 13; 8:12; 9:2). Note Peter’s use of Joel 2:31, adding the paraphrased words “last days,” at Acts 2:20 applying this darkness and rising smoke to the “last days” of Jerusalem.

[3] The stars will fall from the heaven: The word for “stars” in Greek is ASTERES and might also include asteroids. The word OURANON (heaven) may also mean the sky or atmosphere.

[4] The heavenly dynamics will be shaken: Not just an earthquake but seismic activity in the celestialum. Events hard to miss by earth’s population and with startling reactions. Some have pointed to the Space Age with its rockets, moon visits, satellites, deep solar probes, and Star Wars technology as being part of this ‘shaking.’ But, the Nazarene places all of this “after the oppression.”

[5] Sea: Many would make this symbolic of mankind (Isaiah 57:20, 21), but since that is obviously already being discussed it may be more likely that agitation of the sea is a result of solar and lunar and possibly asteroids.

[6] Fainting from fear: The one major emotion from all of this is “fear” on the part of all those who do not understand what is occurring. The reaction to these sudden events, taking place within hours, affects the entire planet. They must actually have “seen” something.

[7] Appear: Interestingly, the Jewish Tanakh version by the JPS translated Daniel 12:1, ‘At that time, the great prince, Michael, will appear.’ The Hebrew here, amad; (Strong’s #5975), may be translated “appear” according to BDBG which lists Daniel 12:1 as an example. If this be the source for Jesus’ words now he was justified in making the statements which follow his mention of the “oppression.” Compare Isaiah 11:12 where SEMEION, the disciples’ word “sign” in their question, occurs in the LXX. The context of Isaiah deals with the gathering of Israel from ‘the four corners of the earth’! Could Matthew 24:30, 31 be a conflated paraphrase of Isaiah 13:10, Daniel 12:1, and Isaiah 11:12? This would be the compound paraphrase: ‘For the stars of heaven shall not give their light and it shall be dark at sunrise and the moon shall not give her light.… And Michael will appear.… and he will lift up a sign for the nations and he will gather the lost ones of Israel from the four corners of the earth.’

[8] The sign of the Son of Humankind: Nowhere is this “sign of the Son of Man” described but many assume it will be a vision like that of Daniel 7:13 only in reverse direction. Not an ascending Son of Man, but a descending one in harmony with Daniel 7:22 and the “arrival of Yahweh” to deliver the Saints following the “great oppression.” (Daniel 7:18-22)

[9] All the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation: The peoples of the earth would not all be lamenting if they had not seen something quite startling. Compare Revelation 6:12-17.

[10] They will see the Son of Humankind: The Parousia or Arrival of Christ is visible (Hebrews 9:28). To “see” something it must be visible in some form. The Greek for “see” here is OPSONTAI the same word as at Matthew 28:7 where the disciples “see” the Risen Christ; and Revelation 22:4 where the Saints are promised they will “see” God’s face. If the Nazarene meant the idea of “mentally seeing” he could have used a word similar to NOOUMEN in Ephesians 3:20 (NWT). Note OPSONTAI is used with regard to viewing the resurrected Jesus at Matthew 28:10. At Acts 10:42 Peter says that God gave Jesus the authority to become “visible” to witnesses appointed beforehand (John 14:19). Jesus was also seen (OPSTHE) by two non-believers after his ascension (1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7). We have discussed this, when most will find it obvious, because some Bible students developed the idea of an “invisible presence” in which Jesus does not actually “return,” though Acts 1:9-11 and Acts 3:20, 21 would make it clear he does. Jesus came to the earth and his people (John 1:9-11) having “descended” (Ephesians 4:9). He promised to return or “come again” after his “ascension” (John 6:64; Ephesians 4:9) at John 14:3. In all of these cases he actually left heaven, and was thus absent, to come to the earth to be present; and, then he leaves earth to become absent from his disciples but promises them he will “come again” and thus become present once again. Does 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 state that our Lord “descends” (or, comes down) from heaven to the “air”?

[11] Coming on the clouds of the sky: This is a phrase from Daniel 7:13 but it should be noted in Daniel the idea is one of ascending (John 6:64) to the very Presence of God. Note Daniel’s position at Daniel 7:10, 16. However, according to the Nazarene’s own promise (John 14:3), as well as that of the angel (Acts 1:9-11), the Lord is to “return” in the same type of “clouds” in which he vanished heavenward upon his ascension. This is confirmed by Paul at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 where the Lord descends into the “air” where clouds are formed. We have refrained from referencing Revelation 1:7 in this matter for reasons which will be explained later. We feel the words of Revelation 1:7 part of a hymnal praise, with Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:10 as its theme, dealing with the ascension and not the return of Christ.

[12] With power and much glory: This is not a king who has come to receive his royal power, but one who already ‘rules as king waiting for his enemies to be made subject to him.’ (1 Corinthians 15:25; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 10:12,13) He has waited ‘a long time’ to be reunited with his disciples (Matthew 25:19; Luke 19:12, 15). This phrase drawn from Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 is used at Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 26:64 where it likely means, “In your lifetime you will see the fulfillment of Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1.” That is, upon the ascension of Jesus described in Acts 1:9-11, these disciples and those Jewish priests, would still be alive during this historical experience. Compare Matthew 26:57, 59, 64 with Acts 4:6; 7:1, 56, 57. In a very real sense these same priests were on hand to hear the martyr Stephen’s words, ‘Look! I behold the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ Surely, they remembered the Nazarene’s words of promise to them. The degree of power and glory is described by Daniel 7:14 and Ephesians 1:20-22.

[13] As these things start to occur: What “things”? The “great oppression”? The celestial darkness? The “sign” of the Son of Man? “These things” may include the “great oppression” itself if such an experience three and a half year period of oppression befell the Nazarene Saints, they would suspect the Arrival of the King is very near.

[14] Look upward: Or, “lift up your heads”; that is in the direction of the descending Lord in the atmospheric “air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

[15] Is drawing near: It generally means imminent, at the doors, within days, if not hours (Matthew 26:18, 45; Luke 2:38; 22:1; John 2:13), though it can mean several years (Luke 21:20). With the forthcoming parable about ‘summer being near’ the nearness would seem to be a month or less.

[16] The Son of Humankind will send off his angels: Note that Christ does not mention any Saints alive in heaven beside him at this time. The Saints can expect to be raised, awaken, changed or resurrected at this moment of the angelic gathering (1 Corinthians 15:23). Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Revelation 7:1-4. It is interesting that in Matthew 25:31 the Son of Man comes with his “angels” but not with his Saints. One might expect that the very “judges” would be present with Christ if they were already in heaven with him. Would this be enough to indicate that this “arrival” is for the parousia-Judgment upon the Household of Faith and the reason the Saints are missing in Matthew 25:31 is because they have yet to be raised or raptured?

[17] A great trumpet: Note 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 11:15, 18.

[18] Chosen Ones: The Elect gathered. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1. “Chosen Ones,” or “the Elect,” may here be limited to the Christian Saints, both those dead and those alive at the Arrival or Parousia of Christ.

[19] Four winds: Note Revelation 7:1 and Isaiah 11:12. The parallels with Matthew 24:31 might establish that the 144,000 of Revelation 7:1-4 are sealed and delivered at this time.

[20] From one extreme of the sky to another extreme: If the Saints were all in one place this would make no sense. For example, if the vast majority were already with Christ in heaven why would the angels have to be sent out to gather what is already present with the King? However, if the living Saints were in fact scattered across the globe, some in the fields, some at work in the grinding mill, and some asleep (Matthew 24:40, 41; Luke 17:34), then it seems to be that “harvest” the Nazarene illustrates at Matthew 13:30, 40, 41.

[21] Fig tree: Some see Israel in this fig tree, but note the Nazarene mentions all the other trees.

[22] He is near at the doors: Extremely imminent as someone who has come to the house and now stands at the door ready to knock. Here it means within days if not hours, perhaps limiting the observable things to the darkening cosmos and the “sign of the Son of Man.”

[23] The Kingdom of God is near: Luke adds this and thus removes any notion that Jerusalem’s “end” is the subject. The Nazarene has shifted to his own Arrival or Parousia.

[24] This generation will not pass away: This has been applied to Jesus’ contemporaries or that race of Jews still alive at the parousia-Judgment. But, it may well be limited to those lamenting tribes of the earth, and those “Chosen Ones” about to be gathered, and thus still alive (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) at the Return of Christ, who have observed the celestial phenomenon.

[25] The heaven and the earth will pass away: If this is understood to be the literal stellar universe and the planet Earth then it would seem to contradict texts like Psalm 104:5 and Ecclesiastes 1:4 (Psalm 72:8). Note 2 Peter 3:5-7, 10, 12, 13 and Revelation 21:1. This likely refers to that “heaven” and “earth” over which Satan had ruled for thousands of years (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12; Isaiah 51:16).

[26] My words will never pass away: The Nazarene’s words will exist forever and thus be a beneficial guide throughout that “day of eternity.” (2 Peter 3:17)

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Preceding

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

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  6. You know neither the day nor the hour
  7. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
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  10. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
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  13. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
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  17. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
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Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:15-28 – Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

|| Mark 13:14-23; Luke 21:20-24

MT24:15 “Therefore, when you see The Disgusting Thing[1] of The Desolation[2] [Daniel 9:27] {LK21:20 (encamped armies encircling Jerusalem)[3] [Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:15-17, 44, 45]} (as spoken by Daniel the prophet) standing in a Holy Place[4] [Daniel 8:11-14; 9:26] (let the reader be mindful)[5] {LK21:20 know, then, her desolation has drawn near.[6] [Daniel 8:13; 9:26, 27; 11:31; 12:11]} MT24:16 Then, let those in Judea[7] flee into the mountains[8] {LK21:21 and those within her depart. And those in the regions let them not enter into her LK21:22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things written[9]} MT24:17 The one on the housetop,[10] let him not come down to enter his house. MT24:18 And the one in the field, let him not return to grab his outer garment. MT24:19 But, woe to the pregnant[11] in those days {LK21:23 for there will be great necessity upon earth and wrath to this People.[12] LK21:24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword and they will be led captive[13] into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations[14] [Daniel 8:10, 13; 12:7] until the fulfillment of the appointed times of the nations.[15] [Daniel 12:7]} MT24:20 But keep praying your flight be not in winter[16] nor on the Sabbath.[17] MT24:21 For then those days will be a great oppression[18] of a sort not to have occurred from the beginning of the world[19] {MK13:19 which God created} until now but will never occur again.[20] [Daniel 12:1] MT24:22 And if [YHWH][21] {MK13:20} did not shorten those days[22] it is unlikely any flesh[23] would be saved. But for the Elect[24] {MK13:20 He chose} those days will be shortened. MT24:23 {MK13:21} And then if anyone says to you: ‘Look! Christ is here!’[25] Or, ‘There!’ you should not believe it.[26] MT24:24 {MK13:22} For many pseudo-anointed[27] and false prophets[28] will rise. They will give great signs and wonders[29] so as to mislead, if possible, The Elect.[30] MT24:25 {MK13:23} Look! I have foretold everything![31] MT24:26 Therefore, if ever they say to you: ‘Look! He is in the desert!’[32] you should not follow them. Or, ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers!’[33] you should not believe them. MT24:27 For as the lightning[34] comes out of the east and shines to the west so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.[35] [Daniel 7:14, 22] MT24:28 Where the carcass is there the eagles will gather.[36]

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[1] The Disgusting Thing: The translation from the Aramaic by Lamsa has this as disgusting “sign.” If this is the case, it makes it clear Jesus gave two “signs”: a) one with regard to Jerusalem; and, b) one with regard to the Arrival or Parousia. In a way it shows Jesus has reversed the order of the disciples’ question which had the PAROUSIA first and then SYNTELEIAS or consummation, fulfillment, conclusion. Jesus addresses “The End” of Jerusalem first and then goes on to the Parousia.

[2] Disgusting thing of The Desolation: This phrase is from the Jewish Greek Bible the Septuagint (LXX) at Daniel 9:27 (See also Daniel 12:11). DNTT, Vol 1, page 74ff: “Matthew 24:15 is taken from the LXX of Daniel 12:11 and appears with slight variations in Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 11:31… E. Nestle demonstrated that the phrase originated as a typical Jewish term of contempt for a heathen deity.… To Jesus the term would probably connote idolatry of some sort. It is observed that Luke paraphrases his words by the expression ‘Jerusalem surrounded by armies’ (Luke 21:20). It is possible that this is closer to the intention of Jesus than is commonly recognized, for the Roman armies were notorious for the idolatrous images affixed to their ensigns.” The Nazarene makes one of his many paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible and here shows that Daniel had foretold the ultimate desolation of Jerusalem’s Temple. So it would seem Daniel 9:27 may be the closest, though all three occurrences of the key phrase may bear on the same thing: the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple.

[3] Encamped armies encircling Jerusalem: This phrase is from Luke and is added here as the explanation of what the Disgusting Thing was to prove to be: the Roman armies in their assault against Jerusalem beginning in the year 66. For details on this event read Josephus’ Wars of the Jews. The Romans minted special coins beginning with Year One and on into the Fifth Year culminating in the spring of 73. Luke 19:43, 44 recorded the Nazarene’s earlier prediction drawing on other words of Daniel: ‘For days will arrive upon you when your enemies will throw up a palisade encircling you. They will distress you on every side. They will dash your children to the ground; and they will not let a stone remain upon a stone.’ Many of these words and phrases are so similar to those in Daniel 8:9-12; Daniel 9:26-27; Daniel 11:15-17, 44, 45; Daniel 12:7, 11 so as not to be ignored and it is for these reasons we believe Jesus cautioned the reader of Daniel.

[4] Holy Place: Read Josephus for details on the Jews’ war with Rome. The Romans actually minted coins for the years of the Jewish campaign and then built the Arch of Titus in Rome to commemorate their final overthrow of the Jewish revolt. This relief pictures the Jewish prisoners and the Great Menorah being carried off as booty. The Temple, called the “holy place” or “sanctuary,” also features in Daniel’s prophecy: Daniel 8:11, 13, 14; Daniel 9:26; Daniel 11:31. This is the very subject before Jesus and the disciples in Matthew ch 24, Mark ch 13, and Luke ch 21.

[5] Let the reader be mindful: Does the Nazarene assume his disciples will be reading the Book of Daniel for details? He asks them to be “mindful,” or to ‘take note of this.’ (PME)

[6] Her desolation has drawn near: Thus the SYNTELEIAS of the disciples’ question about “the end.” The word “desolation” features in Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:26, 27; Daniel 11:31; 12:11. Jesus had chosen it carefully.

[7] Those in Judea: Not just those within the city of Jerusalem but also within the whole region. In Daniel this region or area of Palestine is called “the land of Decoration (or, Beauty).” (Daniel 8:9; Daniel 11:16, 41) Josephus records the exact campaign of the Romans beginning in the north.

[8] Flee into the mountains: There is some evidence certain Christians did flee to the mountains of Perea.

[9] To fulfill all the things written: Particularly in Daniel chapters 8, 9, 11, 12. In the Book of Daniel there is a unique phrase often bandied about, ‘the time of the end,’ or ‘end-times.’ (Daniel 8:17, 19; Daniel 11:13, 35, 40; Daniel 12:4) These seem to always apply to the “end” of Jerusalem. Neither Jesus, nor his disciples, ever used such a phrase as “time of the end.”

[10] The one on the housetop: Interestingly, the Nazarene has “one” on the housetop and another “one” at work, not at some Christian meeting or involved in missionary preaching. This would have been a good time to say so if that was his meaning. The flight is extremely urgent. Now, it would seem the Nazarene could have anticipated, not the “day and hour,” but the length of the “days of distress” for the prophetic evidence was right there in Daniel 8:13, 14, 17, 19; Daniel 12:7 that the whole period of war would cover 2,300 days, with a particular period of three and a half years. As it turns out it is exactly 2,300 days from the autumn of the year 66 to the spring of 73 and the fall of Masada. It is three and a half years from the fall of 66 to the spring of 70. Jesus avoids this, other than a subtle reference in Luke 21:24, perhaps because of human nature to put things off to the last moment. He encourages all to flee without hesitation at the first “sign” of encircling armies.

[11] Pregnant: This is not a period of time longer than nine months or covering many years as Jesus’ warning to women shows. It may include those years during which a mother nurses. He has lovingly not ignored them in their plight. The disaster which befell Jerusalem was a horror on women and their children as recorded by Josephus (Luke 19:44; 23:27-30).

[12] This People: The Jews. Remember the Christians, or Messianists, were generally viewed as a Jewish sect, the Nazarenes, by the Jews and the Romans. During the wave of persecution by Nero Jews and Christians suffered. Paul and Peter were executed within the period of 66 to 70 AD. Thus viewed, the “chosen ones” may include all Jews but with the emphasis on those Christian saints. The Great Oppression involves the Jews and spreads outside of Judea (Acts 18:2; 24:5).

[13] They will fall by the edge of the sword and they will be led captive: The words “sword” and “captive” are from Daniel 11:32 in the prophetic context of the Temple and The Abomination. Also, note these two words at that future time of oppression in Revelation 13:10. In 70 AD more than one million died in the destruction of Jerusalem alone. Almost 100,000 were led off captive which the Arch of Titus in Rome commemorates.

[14] Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations: It is possible Jesus is referring to the whole period of oppression beginning in 66 through 70 AD. If Jerusalem is destroyed along with her Temple then she cannot be trampled on. It is during the three and a half years of 66 to 70 that Jerusalem is trampled. Note this word “trample” in Daniel as it is associated with Jerusalem (Daniel 8:10, 13; Daniel 12:7). Also note that the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 might well fit that period from 66 to 73 and the conquest of Masada, a word possibly meaning “fortress.” (Daniel 11:31)

[15] The appointed times of the nations: What length of time would this be? By comparing Daniel 12:7 (likely the source of Jesus’ words) and Revelation 11:2 it would seem this period, “the appointed times of the nations,” is three and a half years long and covers that space from 66 to 70 AD.

[16] Winter: A space of three or four months.

[17] Sabbath: Does Jesus still have his Jewish disciples and the Jewish peoples in mind?

[18] Great oppression: In the Greek translation of Matthew this is THLIPSIS MEGALE and is borrowed from the LXX at Daniel 12:1 with hints from Daniel 7:25’s bela (Strong’s #1080) which is rendered “oppress” by some. The words THLIPSIS MEGALE is repeated in Revelation 7:14 for reasons we will see later.

[19] Of a sort not to have occurred from the beginning of the world: This tribulation is without parallel in human creation. Does Jesus not still have Jerusalem in mind? So this is to be the worst disaster in Jerusalem’s history. Note how the Jewish Tanakh (JPS) renders Daniel 12:1, ‘It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being.’ This would refer directly to the nation of Israel.

[20] Will never occur again: Does Jesus the Jew mean Jerusalem will never again experience such a disaster as that by the Romans between 66-70 AD? We shall see later in our consideration of Apocalypse.

[21] YHWH: Or, [the] Lord. The Greek KYRIOS in Mark 13:20 is without the article suggesting God’s Name may have originally appeared here [Compare the Diaglott].

[22] Shorten those days: The period of oppression against Jerusalem.

[23] Flesh: Jewish flesh according to the context.

[24] The Elect: Or, “the chosen ones.” The Greek is EKLEKTOUS. This may well apply to the Jews as a People including the Christian saints. It is during this widespread oppression, with its center in Jerusalem, that Peter and Paul were executed. They did not survive “the great oppression.” They were not “saved” out of it. Note how the term “elect” or “chosen ones” can be applied to Israel (Psalm 105:6, 26, 43; 106:5, 23; Isaiah 65:9, 15, 22, 23; Luke 18:7) and to the Christian disciples (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9).

[25] Christ is here: With these events and the destruction of Jerusalem it would be the appropriate time for someone to claim to be the Messiah or for others to predict the Return of Christ. Throughout history there have been those who claimed Christ had actually returned. “Christ is here!” they cried, though their interpretations of this varied greatly.

[26] You should not believe it: The Nazarene makes it clear his Arrival or Parousia does not take place with the destruction of Jerusalem as the disciples might have anticipated.

[27] Pseudo-anointed: Or, “false christs (messiahs).” Jesus foretold his “field” would be sown with “weeds” (zizania) or counterfeit “sons of the Kingdom.” (Matthew 13:38) “Apostasy” was foretold by Paul (Acts 20:29; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-7; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2; 2 Timothy 3:5-9). Peter foretold “false prophets.” (2 Peter ch 2) Jude and John stated this process was already in deep ferment (Jude 4, 11-19; 1 John 2:19, 26; 4:3). Any who claimed to be “The Anointed” and yet made false prophecies claiming, “The Time is at Hand!” (Luke 21:8 Byington) were a danger to the true Elect.

[28] False prophets: Read Deuteronomy 18:20-22 on how to know when a prophecy is not from God. Certainly, one of the main themes of these prophets is to go counter to the Lord Jesus who they claim to represent: ‘The Time is at Hand!’ They mislead by complicated and obscure time chronologies which they have worked out. Most of these have used Daniel, particularly chapters 4 and 8.

[29] Great signs and wonders: The more “signs” a prophet points to, the more one ought to be cautious. Paul says something similar at 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10 when he discusses “the Man of lawlessness.” Some in modern times hail their powers to heal, or cast out demons, or point to grand buildings, or international publishing, or great radio and television satellite communication networks. Paul stresses it is “the truth” one ought to hold dear (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

[30] To mislead, if possible, The Elect: Jesus may cover the centuries in this warning for throughout the ages the false prophets have misled millions who have failed to do exactly what Jesus directed: ‘Do not believe them.’

[31] I have foretold everything: At John 14:29 the Nazarene taught, ‘I have told you before it occurs so when it does occur you will believe.’

[32] He is in the desert: There are to be no isolated appearances of the Christ in deserted locations, or wilderness areas where some false prophets might try to gather their followers, where others in general cannot view him.

[33] He is in the inner chambers: There are to be no private appearances of Christ to individuals in their bedrooms or elsewhere. Any who claim to have had the Christ appear in their private rooms would be false prophets. This may include private and personal visions or dreams. Three of the four Christian religions actually founded in America during the 1,800’s make such claims.

[34] As the lightning: Lightning is something visible and discernible with the naked eye from horizon to horizon by all under its illumination. Lightning can be seen even with the eyes closed. Compare Luke 17:24 where the ‘revealing of the Son of Man’ is compared to lightning.

[35] Arrival of the Son of Humankind: For the first time the Nazarene uses the disciples’ word PAROUSIA as Matthew translates the Hebrew. Jesus is to use PAROUSIA three times (Matthew 24:27, 37, 39) according to the Greek translator of Matthew’s Hebrew. The word PAROUSIA only occurs here in the Gospels. It should be kept in mind that Jesus most likely spoke in Hebrew (Acts 26:14) and the disciple Matthew recorded his original Gospel in that language (Irenaeus, a Christian teacher of the Second Century wrote: “Matthew published a written gospel for the Hebrews in their own tongue.” The History of the Church by Eusebius, page 210). So, it was a later translator, possibly Matthew himself, who put the Greek word PAROUSIA in the mouths of Jesus and his disciples.

What Hebrew word might the Nazarene have used? Since PAROUSIA is always connected with the “Son of Man” it is likely Jesus borrowed a word from Daniel 7:13 or 22: athah (Strong’s #857, #858) which means “arrive,” the same meaning of PAROUSIA. See notes on Matthew 24:3 for more details. PAROUSIA means the arrival or visit of a king or important person. The English word “coming” has become a common noun referring to such a royal visit. Paul uses PAROUSIA in the context of the Second Coming only once outside of his Thessalonian letters (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8).

Mark and Luke do not use PAROUSIA but choose other synonyms: ERKHETAI, ERKHOMENOS, ELTHON which mean “come” or “arrive.” Matthew does this himself (Matthew 24:30, 42, 44, 45, 25:19). ERKHOMENOS happens to be the word used in the Jewish Greek Bible, the Septuagint (LXX), at Daniel 7:13 with ELTHEN being used at Daniel 7:22. Is this enough to establish that PAROUSIA (presence) is roughly the same as ERKHOMENOS (coming) or ELTHON (arrive)?

[36] Where the carcass is there the eagles will gather: This sudden cryptic is not the first time the disciples heard it. See something similar at Luke 17:37 when the disciples respond to certain ones being “taken along.” The disciples ask, ‘Where, Lord?’ The Nazarene responds in words similar to Matthew 24:28. If the “eagles” are those “taken along” (a word similar to that in John 14:3 and Luke 17:34) and these are raptured or gathered, then the “body” is the returning Christ (Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:1 with Matthew 24:30). Luke uses SOMA (body) whereas Matthew uses TO PTOMA (fallen body, carcass, corpse) which happens to also occur at Revelation 11:8, 9, 12 in a context suggesting the Rapture following words paraphrased from Luke 21:24 (Revelation 11:2).

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Preceding

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

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Additional reading

  1. Prophecies over coming days
  2. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  3. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  4. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  5. Thought on the first day of the new civil year 2020
  6. Today’s thought “My times are in your hand” (January 14)
  7. 1st thought for today “The world may be wicked” (January 16)
  8. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  9. Today’s thought “When approaching the battle against your enemies today” (May 03)
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

LK3:7 So John told the crowds that came out to be baptized by him: “You offspring of vipers,[1] who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?[2] LK3:8 You had better produce fruitage worthy of repentance.[3] Do not start to convince yourselves: ‘Abraham is our father!’[4] For I tell you that The God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these rocks![5] LK3:9 Even now the ax is about to chop the root of the trees.[6] And so every tree not producing good fruit[7] will be chopped down and hurled into the fire.”[8]


[1] You offspring of vipers: Or, generation of vipers, brood of snakes. John does not speak well of the Jews of his period. [Isaiah 59:5] Jesus does the same. [Matthew 23:33]

[2] The coming wrath: Likely including the period of Great Oppression between 66-70 AD.

[3] Fruitage worthy of repentance: True repentance – a feeling of regret for past thoughts, words, and conduct – must be accompanied by visible evidence of such repentance. [Matthew 3:8]

[4] Abraham is our father: Compare John 8:33. A claim relied on by some Jews to this day.

[5] Raise up children to Abraham from these rocks: Merely relying on a genealogical connection with Abraham is of no value.

[6] The ax is about to chop the root of the trees: The claim of Abrahamic roots is worthless now if one is lacking the faith of Abraham. [Matthew 3:10]

[7] Every tree not producing good fruit: Compare Matthew 7:19 where Jesus teaches the same.

[8] Hurled into the fire: The analogy is to the brush fire resulting from burning up pruned limbs. Compare Luke 3:17.

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John the Baptist preaching repentance - polych...

John the Baptist preaching repentance – polychrome, Amiens cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Preceding articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Connecting articles:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

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Find also to read:

  1. God’s promises
  2. With God All Things Are Possible
  3. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  4. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  5. Apple of Gods eye
  6. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  7. Creator and Blogger God 9 A Blog of a Book 3 Blog about Prophecy
  8. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  9. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #20 Before and After
  11. Another way looking at a language #3 Abraham
  12. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  13. Men of faith
  14. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  15. Jeruzalem Gods city
  16. True riches
  17. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  18. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  19. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  20. Invitation to all who believe

In Dutch:

  1. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen. #1 Abraham de aartsvader
    where is written that early in the 2nd millennium before the Common Era, the first Hebrew patriarch was born.
    In the history of humankind we can see that the Almighty God, Jehovah used his power to overcome any obstacle that the fulfillment of his promise, to Abraham, might prevent to come in fulfilment. The father of Isaac was to be the patriarch for God’s People. In time, Abraham was indeed the father of the Israelites and had not only to be seen as the father or patriarch of the Jews, but also of the Christians as well as Muslims. They all should believe in the promise of a great posterity which would come when a great empire would be inherited by the People of God. We should all look forward to the time when the world would come to see the promised land.  From the trunk of the patriarch of the people of Israel a large earthly king would come (David) from which the Messiah (Jeshua/Jesus Christ) would be born, which would be a greater king because he should rule over the Kingdom of God.
  2. Het begin van Jezus #7 Een Nieuwe Adam, zoon van Abraham
  3. Het begin van Jezus #8 Beloofde Gezalfde zoon van God

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  • Preparing the Way (graceofourlord.com)
    In verse 7, John the Baptist is speaking to the crowds that came out to be baptized. In Matthew chapter 3, we are told that Pharisees and Saduccees were among those who had come. The impression that is most natural to take away from John’s harsh-sounding words here are that they are meant for those two groups. But just as likely, they are aimed at any of those who had come without true repentance on their minds. That is what John had been preaching – a baptism of repentance.
  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    To the people of the Old Testament period, the word would mean to turn, to return. Their experience of being in exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem was a powerful cultural memory to them. When “repent” was translated from the Greek, another meaning emerged: “to go beyond the mind that we have.” So repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation. This requires time apart from my cultural context and examination of my motives and areas of my life needing change. To live in or return to the kingdom of God, requires growth and transformation by God’s love, forgiveness, and grace.
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    They were coming to confess their sins and be baptized.   This is all well and good, but as David Lose and Karoline Lewis point out here, this isn’t the usual Advent and Christmas theme.  Repentance and  baptism for the forgiveness of sins is a topic we talk about in Lent as we prepare for Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, not as we celebrate his birth.
  • Second Sunday of Advent: Dec. 8 (prayerscapes.wordpress.com)
    John came to prepare the people for the coming of another. Coming events have occurred often in the life of the Judeo-Christian faith: from Egypt, from the desert, from Babylon, the Christ child, John and the second coming of Jesus.
    +
    We as believers are called to come to and embrace the kingdom of heaven, which is nearby. How have we prepared the way for our coming to this kingdom? Have we applied for citizenship in this new kingdom? In these days as I contemplate John preparing the way for the people, I shall also contemplate my preparation for citizenship and entry into the nearby kingdom of heaven. How about you?
  • Sadducees & Pharisees: The Holistic Healing Arts like Yoga are unChristian (arpaget.typepad.com)
    According to some of our Rams and Shepherds, apparently our very spiritual lives are in great jeopardy. All due to those unChristian activities, we like to refer to as the Holistic Healing Arts like Yoga.

    So we, the lowly Sheep, approach this topic with considerable timidity, humility and meekness. Such August Leaders of the Church – are like the great Sadducees and Pharisees of the Temple:

  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
  • In those days: the kingdom at hand (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Luke introduces the ministry of John the Baptist with a careful historical introduction listing the year, the emperor, the rulers of the surrounding territories, and the high priest who was in office. Matthew introduces John’s ministry with a very general, “in those days.” The point is not that Matthew was unaware of the interval of about thirty years that he is passing over. Rather, his purpose was to show that the birth of Christ and the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry are part of the same flow of God’s activity in salvation history. There are two major sections within this passage. Verses 1-6 introduce the ministry of John the Baptist while verses 7-12 summarize the message of John.
  • Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com)
    To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.
  • Because It’s the Religious Thing To Do – Matthew 3:7-10 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)
    To be right with God, it wasn’t good enough just to be children of Abraham. God wanted them to repent of their self-righteousness and replace it with His righteousness. And without God’s righteousness, there’s no redemption!But God’s righteousness can’t be acquired by birthright or by being religious; it can only be imputed by God. And God can only impute His righteousness when there is a penitent heart to receive it, when you acknowledge that you are wrong and God is right.
  • Refurbisment or Rebuild (venabling.wordpress.com)
    The experience of becoming a Christian is often presented in the guise of being a refurbishment job.
    +
    The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a “refurbishment” message. Rather it is “demolition and renewal” message. John the Baptist was the man who preached in a demolish and rebuild fashion.
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