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What Did Jesus Know About His Coming?

29 Jun
Second Coming - 6

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There are some futurists who conclude that Matthew 24:36 is a verse that divides the Olivet Discourse into two eschatological events—i.e. Christ comes spiritually in AD 70 to judge Jerusalem and destroy the Temple (Matthew 24:3-34) and Christ’s Second Coming (physically) to rule the world (Matthew 24:36-end of chapter 25). On the other hand, there are other futurists who claim the Olivet Discourse is a single, united prophecy that predicts Jesus’ Second Coming (physically) to rule the world. I agree with the latter that the Olivet Discourse is a single, undivided prophecy, but I, nevertheless, believe it points to Jesus’ spiritual coming in 70 AD, which is the official end of the Old Covenant, and the establishment of the New.

In this study, I wish to address the point of view that Matthew 24:36 divides the Olivet Discourse into two eschatological events. The belief that takes the position that Matthew 24:36 is a dividing scripture seems to center its argument around the word “but” – “BUT, of that day and hour knows no man…” I have already demonstrated in a previous study that there is no logical reason to divide Matthew 24 at this point,[1] but in this study I would like to address the issue from a slightly different perspective, which is to ask what Jesus did know versus what he didn’t know.

If Jesus didn’t know the day and hour (Mark 13:32), concerning the matter he mentions in Matthew 24:36, does this imply that he knew the day and hour of that which he discussed in Matthew 24:4-34? If he doesn’t know the day and hour of the events prior to verse-36, for what logical reason could anyone use it as a dividing scripture for what comes after? So, did Jesus offer any definite time schedule for the false messiahs, the wars that would come, the famines or the pestilences he predicated (Matthew 24:4-8)? Obviously, he knew they would occur, but, if he did know a detailed time schedule for those events, he didn’t disclose it to his disciples, which is quite odd, if that were the case.

Next, Jesus mentions persecution and betrayal, the rise of false prophets, the oppressiveness of iniquity, which wears down the love one has for another, and when the Gospel is preached throughout the world, the end would come (Matthew 24:9-14). However, although Jesus knows these events will occur, he doesn’t offer a time schedule for any of them. In other words, he doesn’t seem to know the hour of any of these events, when they begin or even how long they might last once they do begin.

In Matthew 24:15-22 Jesus give us a sense of danger and urgency in his words, and the danger and urgency seem to center around the abomination that brings desolation (to the Temple – Matthew 24:2). Nevertheless, Jesus doesn’t seem to have any idea, as to when that event might occur. He doesn’t even know what season of the year it may be in or even the specific day of the week on which it would occur (Matthew 24:20). All he can say is, “when you see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place…” run. Get out of Jerusalem and don’t return. Anyone who is not in Jerusalem, don’t try to enter. So, once more, although Jesus does have a lot of information about events that are going to occur, he is unable to offer any helpful specifics that would relate to the day and hour of any of those events.

Next, Jesus mentions false messiahs once more and the danger of deception, but all he could do was tell his disciples that his coming would be so eventful that they wouldn’t need anyone to take them to “see” him. His presence would be that evident (Matthew 24:23-28), because the Great Tribulation of those days would be brought to sudden conclusion with the sign of Jesus presence in heaven—i.e. he as Deity was coming in the clouds of heaven (cf. Matthew 26:64) to judge Jerusalem and destroy the Temple (Matthew 24:29-31).

Nevertheless, all Jesus could say about the timing of this astonishing event was: just as when the fig tree puts forth is leaves and one is able to say summer is near, so when all these events occur together at the same time, then the disciples could understand that Jesus’ coming and the destruction of Jerusalem was very, very near (Matthew 24:32-33), and that generation—i.e. the generation in which Jesus’ disciples were living, would not pass, until all those things occurred. Heaven and earth (the Temple, the Old Covenant) would pass away, but Jesus’ words would not pass away. They would stand forever (Matthew 24:34-35).

Therefore, if Jesus couldn’t offer his disciples any information about that day and hour in which those events occurred before Matthew 24:36, what logical reason is there for saying that this verse separates what come before it (Matthew 24:4-34) from what occurs after it?

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[1] See my study: No One Knows That Day and Hour

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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