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Posts tagged ‘Sign’

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

In our previous post you could read how Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives and talked to his disciples who had asked him to tell them when this destruction of the temple, about he talked earlier, would take place, and what would be the sign of his coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?

Jesus answered their question, telling about days or moments and things as the prophets had foretold it, and to make sure that no one would mislead them, but at the same time warns us to be careful not to be deceived and not having us lead into error. (Matthew 24:4) We may not forget that many will so come in Jesus his name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to the sent one from God], saying,

‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. : after the distress of those days, (Matthew 24:5)

Jesus told his disciples that they would continually hear of wars and rumours of wars, and that is also what happened throughout the ages. Several students of the Bible were not at all frightened, because they knew and we know that those things must take place (Matthew 24:6)

Throughout the ages we have seen that nation rose against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Throughout the ages there have always been wars and lots of problems, like droughts, famines, heave destructing storms, earthquakes in various places. Jesus told his disciples generations would encounter such things, but them would all be merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble]. (Matthew 24:7-8)

Jesus told us in advance about many signs which shall occur at certain times. It would be to his followers and readers of the Scriptures to come to know those signs and not to be left in the dark. What should bring us out of the dark is what Jesus further told:

“29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 “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.” (Mt 24:29-30 NIV)

Even when the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken it should not be a time of distress for us, whilst it might be for many in this world.

For Students of the Bible it shall be that time to be recognised as the sign of the Son of Man [coming in his glory] for which many of us waited such a long time. For centuries fellow members looked forward for signs to appear in the sky, when they would come to see all the tribes of the earth and especially Israel to come to mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah] (Matthew 24:30)

We still wait and look forward to that day when we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendour] (Matthew 24:30). Waiting already such a long time we should not be weary, the return of the Christ is imminent.

When looking at what is going on in the world we may be sure that one day, not so far in the future, the sun will grow dark, and the moon will not give its light, people coming to see the stars falling from the sky [heaven] (Matthew 24:29).

When Jesus was talking about all this he had already told them that he was going to have to go to Jerusalem to have his final days there, because him being betrayed, falsely accused, tried, beaten, and eventually put to death. He had spoken about his reason for his (first) coming to earth. He told about his primary mission being to serve as the sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind. Having told them that he would be killed he also assured them that this would not be the end of him, because he would be restored to life and there would come a day when he would return to earth a second time.
But there was much that would have to take place before that return. And the date of his second appearance was and would be a mystery for many years. He told the disciples,

“No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mt 24:36 NIV)

Yes, even Jesus himself did not know the day. He as a son of man, not being like God, an all-knowing god, was in darkness about the moment God would allow him to come back to earth to fulfil his task.

The short time Jesus had his public life, he warned people to return to God and to prepare themselves to be worthy for entering the Kingdom of God, because everybody had to know there would come a day of death, or end of living, and a judgement day, when it would be all too late to change anything. All choices for the way of living have to be made whilst living, so before the moment of death arrives.
Jesus has warned those around him several times,

“ So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Mt 24:44 NIV)

The point Jesus seemed to be making had to do with preparedness. He wanted not only his disciples to live with a sense of eager expectation, anticipating that his return could happen at any moment. Jesus wanted to warn everybody and tried with his many parables to show what the Torah implicated and how there would come a time we would have to come before the Elohim to justify us.

People had to come out of the darkness of the world before another sort of darkness would frighten them even more than all the previous events. This led Jesus to tell a few parables to drive home his point. As such people could hear him tell a story about the wedding banquet or ten virgins who were anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom. In the story, all ten virgins share a common expectation of the bridegroom’s arrival. They are eagerly anticipating his coming, but five of them are prepared, while five are not. In the story, the bridegroom has not shown up as expected. But, as part of the welcoming party, they were to have been ready, because, as Jesus had said, the groom was

“coming at an hour you do not expect.”

With the parable of the fig tree Jesus is attempting to open the eyes of his disciples and wants to help them (and us) develop a long-term perspective regarding his Kingdom. From the books of the Messianic writings (1st and 2nd part of the New Testament) we can clearly see that the apostles were focused on the here-and-now, and having trouble understanding that the talk of their master teacher his coming death in Jerusalem was anything but bad news or something to be avoided at all costs.

This entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew contains the surprising and difficult-to-comprehend words of Jesus as he reveals the bigger picture regarding God’s plan of redemption. Jesus’ death on the wooden stake would be just the beginning of the much larger, comprehensive Plan of God. It would also include his resurrection, God calling him out of the hell where he was for three days, as well as his return to his Father’s side. Jesus to be taken up in heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But, even more importantly, it would require his eventual return to earth as the conquering King.

Jesus trusted his God, the God of Abraham, and knew very well his position and his task here on earth. But he also had confidence that what was written in the scrolls all would become a reality. Jesus knew that there would be a long delay before his return would take place, and therefore he wanted to assure his followers that they should not worry too much but should always prepare themselves, always being ready for when the moment would be there.
Jesus wanted his disciples and followers to live with a sense of eager anticipation. If they expected it to happen and kept their eyes open, looking for the signs of its approach, they would be able to endure the struggles that were coming their way.

Jesus used the visual lesson of a fig tree in order to help the disciples understand that there would be visible, recognizable signs associated with His coming. The budding of a fig tree is a natural indication that summer is near. It is unmistakable and irrefutable. In the same way, Jesus stated that the signs of his return will be undeniable. He even assures his disciples that

“ I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Mt 24:34 NIV)

From the Scriptures we do know that Jesus always wanted to do what God wanted. He even put his own will aside to do the will of God. From the Scripturues we also do know that Jesus was without fault, i.e. did not sin and as such always told the truth.

In this chapter he was not saying that the events associated with the end times would take place during the lifetimes of his disciples. But while they were alive, they would already begin to see the early signs of his return. The budding of a fig tree provides a premonition or portent of something to come. The buds do not mean summer has arrived, but that it is coming. In the same way, the disciples would live to see signs that would point to Jesus’ coming.

In a sence they would be alive when he returned, because after his death he appeared to them. But the signs he warned them about would not be then, but much later. Jesus gave those warnings so that those who would come after the disciples could see clear indications that it was going to happen.

Each generation of believers has been given signs that Jesus his coming is imminent and inevitable. These signs act as assurances of God’s faithfulness and are meant to encourage us to continue to wait eagerly and hopefully.

The earth would continue to go through all kinds of struggles, including earthquakes, famines, floods, disasters, and even wars. The apostle Paul reminded the believers in Corinth:

“ those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1Co 7:31 NIV)

The apostle John wrote,

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.” (1Jo 2:17 NIV)

This gives already something to have hope for. Because even when we die, there shall be the prospect for that time coming, when Jesus would call the living and the death to raise and to come before his judgement seat. When having lived according to God’s Law the lover of God should not have to worry, because all promises of God shall come true.

In this world of darkness, not many intereted in the Only One True God, Who is One, for many, the second coming of Jesus will be a surprise. Because the majority not being interested in God, His commands nor His Words, the second coming of Christ will catch the majority of people living on earth at the time completely off-guard and unprepared.
Jesus used the days of Noah as an apt point of comparison. In a way, Noah’s building of the ark was a clear sign that something was coming. And Peter seems to indicate that Noah warned his neighbours of God’s coming judgment and the availability of salvation made possible by the ark.

“ if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;” (2Pe 2:5 NIV)

From the Scriptures history telling we know that the people in Noah’s day ignored the signs and refused the message of Noah. Instead, they busied themselves, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark (Matthew 24:38). Like in the days of Noah, today we also see how people continue their way of life like they want to enjoy life. They go on with their lives, oblivious to the warning signs and ignorant of what is about to happen. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that the same thing as in Noah’s time was going to happen when he finally shall return. It would catch the world unprepared and completely off-guard.

Let us make sure we are prepared!

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

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

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

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Find also to read

  1. Today’s thought “They flattered … they lied” (February 14)
  2. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  3. Will There Ever be Peace on Earth?
  4. Looking into the Future
  5. Looking forward for what is to come
  6. The resurrected Lord
  7. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  8. Jesus Christ will return to earth
  9. You know neither the day nor the hour
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
  11. The New Testament and Judgement
  12. Prophecies over coming days
  13. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
  14. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  15. Signs of the Last Days
  16. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  17. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  18. Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
  19. Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
  20. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
  21. To be prepared and very well oiled
  22. Preparing for his coming
  23. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  24. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  25. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  26. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  27. As you see the Day approaching
  28. The Rapture Wars
  29. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  30. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood
  31. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 12 Corrupted earth
  32. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 13 Noah’s ark and the flood
  33. Today’s thought “A Damaged and Wicked World” (January 03)
  34. Today’s thought “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (January 04)

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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Find also to read

  1. Looking into the Future
  2. Looking forward for what is to come
  3. The resurrected Lord
  4. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  5. Jesus Christ will return to earth
  6. You know neither the day nor the hour
  7. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
  8. The New Testament and Judgement
  9. Prophecies over coming days
  10. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
  11. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  12. Signs of the Last Days
  13. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  14. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  15. Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
  16. Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
  17. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
  18. To be prepared and very well oiled
  19. Preparing for his coming
  20. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  21. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  22. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  23. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  24. As you see the Day approaching
  25. The Rapture Wars

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]

*

[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

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

The King and his chosen sign

1. THE Pharisees also with the Sadducees come, and tempting desired him that he would shew them, a sign from, heaven The King is again met by his foes. Two sects, which were violently opposed to each other, unite their forces against him. It is the way of the wicked to become friends when seeking the overthrow of the kingdom of heaven.

On this occasion they come not with a question, but with the old demand for a sign. This time it must be “a sign from heaven,” possibly a marvel in the sky. What right had they to set him a test of such a sort as their fancy might suggest? What need for more signs when his miracles were so many? Were not all his miracles signs from heaven? Did not this demand cast a slur on all that he had already done? Was it not a practical ignoring of all his previous works of power? Too often we also have fallen into the weakness of asking a new token of divine love, thus undervaluing former favors. If the evidence we have already received of our Lord’s grace and power is not enough, when will our doubts be ended?

In this demand for a sign, our Lord’s foes were tempting him. Did the temptation lie in urging him to seek his own glory by some ostentatious display of power, for which there would be no real need? Whatever it was, our Lord passed scathless through this ordeal, for there was no pride in him. Pharisees and Sadducees will tempt us also. From their wiles and smiles may the Lord deliver us! From the desire to stand well with men may we be happily freed by our love to Jesus!

2, 3. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

They could prognosticate the weather by certain signs, and our Lord Jesus mentions the weather-tokens of Palestine, yet they could not read the plainer and more plentiful warnings of the near future. Weather-signs are doubtful, but there were moral and spiritual tokens around them which could hardly be misunderstood if they would only consider them. Each country has it’s own sky warnings, and those of Palestine differ from those of England, but the signs of the times are the same in all lands. Our Lord singled out an instance of their supposed weather-wisdom: the same sign which, in the evening, was a token of fair weather, was, in the morning, a mark of foul weather.

They were able to draw nice distinctions on the variable condition of “the face of the sky:” why could they not “discern the signs of the times?” They could have seen, if they had chosen to do so, that all the prophecies were one in declaring that the date of Messiah’s appearing had arrived, and they could also have observed that every event was fulfilling those prophecies, but they were false at heart, and would not see, and yet cried out for a sign. Signs were all around them, and yet they repeated the parrot cry

“Show us a sign.

Most justly our Lord was indignant with them, and upbraided them, using the justly severe words,

“O ye hypocrites!”

Today the men who want more evidences of the supernatural deserve a similar denunciation.

**

Lord, do not allow any of us to be blind to the heavenly signs, thy cross, thy resurrection, thy Word, thy Spirit, and thy work of grace, Teach us carefully to “discern” these things as being in very deed the abiding “signs of the times.” Even in the growing coldness of the church, and the abounding iniquity of the world, let us see the tokens of thine Advent, and stand waiting and watching for thy long promised appearing.

**

4. A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

It was not lack of evidence, but the sad depravity of their minds, which set them upon seeking after a sign, and therefore the Lord would not satisfy their unhealthy cranny. They were wicked in morals, and adulterous in heart in their forsaking the one true God, and then they turned round and justified their unbelief in the Son of God by pleading want of proof, demanding more miracles to enable them to come to a right conclusion. Such is the deceit of man’s heart.

Our Lord repeats his former answer: he will give them no other. In the compass of the Old Testament there is no fuller sign of our Lord than Jonah. Our Lord knew that he would fulfill the type of Jonah even in it’s details, and therefore he points them to that prophet’s life.

This is a subject which deserves our careful meditation, but we cannot enlarge upon it here. Our Lord looks to his death and resurrection, and gives the prophet Jonas as his sign. Jesus will be buried, and will rise on the third day, and in the power of his resurrection, will win the Gentiles to repentance: in this he will be the antitype of Jonah, and this shall be the sign that he is indeed the Christ of God. This our Lord had said before, and he here repeated it, because it was a sufficient reply, and there was no need to study variety with a set of people who, themselves, harped perpetually upon one string.

Our Lord quitted such persons, for there was nothing to be done with them. “lie left them, and departed,” and that place saw him no more.

**

Lord, do not leave any one of us, for that would be a sure sentence of death to us.

**

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Preceding

Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

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Additional reading

  1. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs Can a Christian have doubts?
  2. May we have doubts
  3. Know by trying
  4. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  5. Doubting and going astray
  6. Have faith in your faith…doubt your doubts
  7. When you don’t know what to do and hate yourself
  8. Let me keep to “first importance” things

+++

Related

  1. This Wicked and Perverse Generation
  2. Faithless and Twisted.
  3. Timeline for the Lord’s Coming
  4. God is speaking – are you listening?
  5. Watch and Pray
  6. The Meaning of End Time Signs
  7. Time to Awake Church

Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

Matthew 12:38-42 – Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

|| Luke 11:29-32

MT12:38 Some of the scribes and Pharisees[1] responded to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign[2] from you.” MT12:39 Jesus answered them, saying, “A wicked and adulterous generation[3] keeps seeking for a sign; and, no sign will be given it other than the sign of Jonah.[4] MT12:40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish[5] three days and three nights, just so will the Son of Humankind be in the heart of the earth[6] three days and three nights.[7] MT12:41 Male[8] Ninevites will stand up [again][9] in the judgment[10] with this generation and will condemn it[11] – because they repented at the preaching of Jonah,[12] and, look! something more of Jonah is present![13] MT12:42 The queen of the south[14] will be raised up in the judgment with this generation[15] and will condemn it – because she came from earth’s limits[16] to hear the wisdom of[17] Solomon; and, look! something more of Solomon is present.[18]

*

[1] The scribes and Pharisees: Have some of them repented and changed their tune? Has the warning of the Nazarene made them think? They now address as “Teacher” the one they insinuated was in league with Beelzebul.

[2] We wish to see a sign: Paul writes, “Jews ask for signs.” (1 Corinthians 1:22; Luke 11:29) It is said of a certain Rabbi that when he was asked when Messiah would come, he responded, “I am afraid you will ask me for a sign.”

[3] Wicked and adulterous generation: Jesus does not compromise or water down his response. Surely the words are directed at the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus is to use the whole condemnatory phrase again at Matthew 16:4. Or, GDSP: wicked and faithless. On the derogatory adulterous compare Jeremiah 3:6-11.

Jonah mosaic in Aquileia cathedral

Jonah mosaic in Aquileia cathedral – Mosaic of the biblical story of Jonah; in the cathedral in Aquileia, Italy. – SCALA/Art Resource, New York

[4] The sign of Jonah: This cryptic must have grabbed at the Pharisees who loved riddles. They knew the Book of Jonah well. How could this prophet be involved here?

[5] Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish: Jesus believes in the account of Jonah and the great fish which is nowhere described as a whale.

[6] Heart of the earth: Meaning Hades or the grave.

[7] Three days and three nights: A Hebraism meaning any part of three days or less. It is clear Jesus was to be raised the third day for he so states (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; Luke 24:46). Compare 1 Kings 12:12ff (Hosea 6:2; 1 Corinthians 15:4).

[8] Male: There are a number of Greek words that may be translated “man (men).” Here the Greek is ANDRES (ANDROS).

[9] Stand up [again]: The Greek is ANASTESONTAI and essentially means the same as the English “resurrected.” Related words occur in the third century BC Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX): Job 14:12 (ANASTE), Job 42:17 (ANASTESESTHAI, ANISTESIN), Isaiah 26:19 (ANASTESONTAI), Daniel 12:13 (ANASTESE). Jesus uses forms of the word over a dozen times. Compare John 5:28, 29 where the Nazarene alludes to Isaiah 26:19 LXX.

[10] In the judgment: Or, Judgment Day. Or, NEB: when this generation is on trial; WEY: awake at the judgment. See the key words Judgment Day and resurrection. See Revelation 20:5, 12-14.

[11] Will condemn it: Or, LAM: find it guilty; KNX: will leave it without excuse.

[12] They repented at the preaching of Jonah: Read Jonah chapter 3. Tens of thousands of people responded to Jonah’s warning and as a result the city was spare, much to the disappointment of Jonah who was then taught another divine lesson.

[13] Something more of Jonah is present: Or, KJV: behold, a greater than Jonas is here; TCNT: here is more than a Jonah; WEY: and, mark! there is One greater than Jonah here. He means himself.

[14] Queen of the south: Jesus means the Queen of Sheba who journeyed to hear Solomon for herself (1 Kings 10:1-10). It was not Solomon per se but his God which motivated her, for the account reads, “the report regarding Solomon with regard to the name of Yehowah.”

[15] Raised up in the judgment with this generation: From the Nazarene here we know the Ninevites, the queen of Sheba, and that generation will be resurrected (Acts 24:15).

[16] She came from earth’s limits: She traveled 1,200 miles from northern Africa. This was one serious effort on her part and her entourage. The great trade routes to and from Jerusalem were classically great.

[17] To hear the wisdom of: The contrast between the effort of this godly lady and the Nazarene’s generation is stark. What do they have before them and instead of listening to wisdom they accuse him of demonism and ask for an evidence.

[18] Something more of Solomon is present: Solomon is said to have written 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32). He wrote Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. And, yet, this crowd as much more before them in Jesus. How Solomon will fair in the resurrection is left to the judgment of God.

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Preceding

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

Matthew 12:22-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: the Charge of Demonism

Matthew 12:31-32 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blasphemy against the Pneuma

Matthew 12:33-37 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment Day

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