Monday, February 08, 2010

My last response to Marcus on the Matthew 24 challenge

This will be my last response to Marcus in his well-written answers to my MATTHEW 24 CHALLENGE, where I challenge anyone to show me a verse in Matthew 24 which demands a fulfillment beyond the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Here is the dialogue thus far:

Marcus' initial response

My response to Marcus

Marcus' second response

The verse in question is Matthew 24:3. I have looked it up in 5 translations and two out of three of them use the word "world". I agree that Jesus did not use the word kosmos - the word used is aion. I think "age" is the correct rendering...but what "age" is being discussed? I didn't discuss this in my first post because it never occurred to me that not all my brothers saw the "end of the age" as "end of the world". Let's look at the context. In verse 2 Jesus tells all listening that the temple was going to be destroyed. I think Mike and I agree that Jesus meant that the temple destruction being at a different time than His coming and the end of the age. Therefore I don't think AD 70 can fulfills the entire prophecy Jesus gave in Matthew 24. If the disciples thought that his coming and the destruction of the temple were near simultaneous events then it appears to me that the ask the same thing twice and that does not seem reasonable to me. So I ask what did the disciples thought was ending? Israel as a sovereign nation? No, i think they meant the point at which Jesus would set up his kingdom and take control.

But why can't the disciples be asking two questions in referencing the same event? I think it would help to look at the parallel accounts to show that this doesn't demand a post 70 A.D. fulfillment:

"When will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age." (Matthew 24:3)

"When will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled." (Mark 13:4)

"When therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?" (Luke 21:7)

Interestingly, if Mark and Luke are parallel accounts to Matthew 24 (which I don't see how anyone could doubt), why would they omit the main event; namely, the second coming? My answer is that it is because a "second coming" wasn't in the scope of the disciple's questions at all. But just to be as fair and open minded as I can, I would be willing to grant that this verse could be used to support either position. Why? Because, if the context was speaking of a literal second coming, then it would only be appropriate to assume that Jesus was actually answering the disciple's question correctly. But if the context doesn't reference any second coming, then we would have to assume that Jesus didn't answer their question.

I totally agree that Jesus was referring to Antiochus Ephiphanes and making a parallel. However during the Jewish War (c 70 AD) there had been no idol set up in the Temple. It only almost happened then. I totality agree that we don't know really know what the "abomination" is and i don't think the Left Behind series has truth I wanna base my life one but i don't think the events of 70 AD completely fulfill the prophesy. Some of it like this part I think speaks to 70 AD and the future.

With all due respect to Marcus, this is merely an opinion based on ignorance. The reason I say this is because, even in Marcus' own admission, "we don't really know what the abomination is." And if we really don't know what the abomination is, then how can he claim that it wasn't fulfilled in 70 A.D.? I submit that the clues provided in the context suggest a very strong basis by which this event was fulfilled in the disciple's lifetime:

1. In 24:1, Jesus was clearly referencing the temple, which at least should grant the possibility that the "abomination" was in reference to this.

2. The pronouns "you" throughout the context of Matthew 24 strongly supports the idea that all the events were in reference to the disciples. If it were in reference to a group thousands of years later, wouldn't "they" or "them" be more often implemented?

3. "This generation" was in reference to the disciples, not some group thousands of years in the future, as i'll discuss in more detail.

4. The parallel account in Luke 21:20 supports the possibility that the "desolation" was in reference to Jerusalem itself, not specifically the temple: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near." So what is the "desolation" in reference to? Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. Yes, this "desolation" certainly would include the temple, since it resides in Jerusalem as well as the possibility that it was desolated in some way similar to what Antiochus Ephiphanes did.

Therefore, on what basis does the reference to the "abomination" demand a post-A.D. 70 fulfillment?

The discussion where Mike explains how you can see that Jesus' coming could be explained as happening in AD 70 really didn't move me. If I understand correctly, Mike is arguing that the "Son of Man coming on clouds" breferes to judgement and punishing Israel. He points out that there are many Old Testament passages including Jesus later on using the langauge to say He will be vindicated. Thing is, the destruction of Jerusalem did not make Jews who denied Jesus embrace Jesus. The Roman went on like nothing happened. For them, it was another day at the office. I just don't see how Jesus coming on clouds "with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." can be found fulfilled in AD 70.

But where in the text does it say that the "coming on clouds" is what triggers the Jews to embrace Jesus? From what I can tell, there is nothing in the text which suggests such a thing. And as I pointed out in my last response, the "coming in the clouds" has nothing to do with a "coming to earth." So even in what seems to be Marcus' view, even a "second coming" scenario in implementing this text wouldn't support such a conclusion either. But with that aside, I don't see how 24:31 is meant to be a direct or consequential result of 24:30. And as for Marcus not being able to see how v. 31 could be in reference to the first century, I think the details of such a discussion would have to be reserved for another time, as I intended this discussion to be more focused upon one or two texts.

I think you have a point but "this generation" is translated by some as "this race" as in the human race.

But which translations and on what basis? Is there anything lexically which would merit such a translation? Also, check out the context in which "this generation" is used in other places. Would "this race" be appropriate in those places as well? I think that a lot of justification would need to be made before implementing such a conclusion.

I want to thank Marcus for such a profitable discussion and hope that the readers have benefitted from the interaction. I think this goes to show how two people can disagree in a respectful manner while remaining brothers in the Lord. I'll leave the last word for Marcus so that he can clarify any points that he sees fit.

1 comment:

Marcus McElhaney said...

Thanks, Mike. Tag! you're it: