Separation of local judgment regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and Final Judgment
In the reading of Matthew chapter 24 we may find that the writer separates the local judgment-coming prophecies regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and the Final Judgment which is much further in the future.
Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse is significantly different from Mark’s 13 chapter. It does not differ, however, through contradiction, but by supplementation. In Mark’s chapter Jesus also warns to take care that no one deceives us (v 5). There also we hear Jesus telling how many will come claiming to be him, saying, “I am the One,” and they fooling lots of people. But we might not forget also the false teachers who claimed or shall come to say, the time had/has come or would be at this or such moment in time or calendar date.
In Matthew’s and Mark’s chapters we hear about people hearing of wars, or that war would be coming, which should not surprise us, because many wars would take place before the end of times. These things will have to happen, although it won’t mean the end yet. (Mark 13:5-8; Matthew 24:4-8)
Matthew shifts the attention away from the known time of his local (metaphorical) judgment-coming against the Temple (Matthew 24:2) in Judea (Matthew 24:16), which was to be in “this generation” where he made part of (Matthew 3).
In Matthew 24:15 we read about a time when people would see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand).
The disciples can’t help but notice that something is in the air during this week between Jesus his entry into Jerusalem and his preparation for the Pesach. By repeatedly calling himself the ‘Son of Man‘, Jesus has told people about God His kingdom, but also about his position here on earth and about his kingdom, which will be divinely instituted like the one described in Daniel 7. They are also thinking of promises about the coming Anointed One.
The time coming closer that he would not be there any more with his pupils Jesus warns them about what would happen in 70 when those who would be in Judea had to flee to the mountains. He predicts the temple’s fall — an event that will occur about 40 years later — and speaks of his second coming, which would also be as something that everyone just surprises.
Some people, and perhaps also some of the disciples, were talking about the Temple and how it was decorated [adorned] with beautiful stones and gifts offered to God, but now hear Jesus telling how all that shall be destroyed (Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6). This makes them wonder when that would happen (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:3; Luke 21:7).
“As for these things you are looking at, the time [days] will come when not one stone will be left on another. Every stone will be thrown [torn] down.”
In the second part of the chapter of Matthew Jesus speaks about the coming of the ‘Son of Man‘ which shall come for many also as a surprise or unexpected event. Jesus and his disciples were well aware that only God knows everything, but somehow the disciples had hoped Jesus would know when the end of times would take place, as they believed him to be the son and sent one of God.
In this 24th chapter of Matthew we learn that about that day or hour no one knows, even not Christ Jesus, or not even the angels in heaven, but only the Father (v.36). Therefore, Matthew wants that people would be warned to prepare themselves. People have to keep watch because they do not know on what day their Lord will come. (v.42) Matthew moves from the known time to the unknown time; from the near-future to who-knows-when. We have to learn this lesson about preparedness, from the parable of the fig tree, and have to make sure to be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect him (Matthew 24:32-41; 42-44).
For nobody knows exactly which day [whether near or far] Jesus is coming back to earth, we just have to be on the alert (v.43). But we might have hope when we come to see certain foretold signs. In Mark’s chapter he has Jesus telling about that time when the good news of the coming kingdom of God must be delivered first in every land and every language (Mark 13:10).
As Isaiah said in the days after that great suffering, that the sun will refuse to shine, and the moon will hold back its light, having the stars in heaven falling, and the powers in the heavens been shaken (Isaiah 13:10; 34:4) than we should be seeing clear. Then you will see (as Daniel predicted in Daniel 7:13)
“the Son of Man coming in the clouds,”
clothed in power and majesty. (Mark 13:26) it shall be the time that Jehovah God will send out His heavenly messengers and gather together to Himself those He has chosen from the four corners of the world, from every direction and every land (Mark 13:27).
“5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no-one deceives you.
6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.
7 When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth-pains.
9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.” (Mr 13:5-10 NIV)
“26 “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mr 13:26-27 NIV)