Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000

MATTHEW CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR:
DESOLATION, OPPRESSION, AND THE PAROUSIA

[“Prove Yourselves Ready!”]
(Key word: Oppression)

[Often called “the Little Apocalypse” we have here combined the parallels in Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21.]

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Setting

|| Mark 13:1, 2; Luke 21:5, 6

MT24:1 And having gone out from the Temple10 Jesus was going his way and his disciples came toward him to show him the buildings of the Temple. {MK13:1 and one of his disciples asked him: “Teacher, see what kind of stones (LK21:5 it is adorned with fine stones and dedicated things) and what kind of buildings!”}
10 Temple: Here the Greek word is HIERON meaning the entire Temple complex (see Thayer’s and Vine’s) and not NAOS which is always the innermost shrine itself. One must understand how dear the Temple was to the heart of these Jewish disciples.
MT24:2 But Jesus responded: “Do you see all these great buildings? Listen to this truth: Everything you see will be thrown down11 and not a stone left upon a stone!”
11 Thrown down: These words are very similar to Daniel 8:13 and may be the source of the Nazarene’s prophecy.

Matthew 24:3 – The Apostles’ Question

|| Mark 13:3, 4; Luke 21:7

MT24:3 But, while sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came to him in a private spot, asking: “Tell us, when will this occur?12 {MK13:4 and the sign when all this will be fulfilled?13} And, what will be the sign14 of your Arrival15 [Daniel 7:22; 12:2] and the complete end16 of the Age?”17 [Daniel 9:26, 27] {LK21:7 “When will this all occur?”18}
12 When will this occur: These questions are a compound from all three of the Gospels. When only the Book of Matthew is relied upon some have drawn a different conclusion. We feel it more accurate to include elements from all three witnesses. Do these Jewish disciples of the Nazarene have in mind the Temple? Perhaps they assume the shocking prediction of the Temple’s destruction means the Return of the Messiah in his foretold royal Presence? Their question cannot come from a clear understanding when they did not comprehend much simpler matters regarding the Messiah. If one argues their question in Matthew 24:3 was inspired then it needs to be explained why Mark and Luke omit this part. Just before the ascension of Christ these same men asked: ‘Are you restoring the Kingdom of Israel now?’ (Acts 1:6) Godly men have asked the question “When?” for thousands of years (Psalm 90:13; Habakkuk 1:2).
13 Fulfilled: In Mark’s Gospel the Greek word SYNTELEISTHAI is used which means “fulfilled” and is similar to Matthew’s SYNTELEIAS (with + end) which means “ending together” or “conclusion.” When we say this we understand that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew and later translated it into Greek, thus the Nazarene or his disciples never uttered the actual Greek word SYNTELEIAS. It is likely Matthew translates the Hebrew (or, Aramaic) kalah; (see Strong’s #3617) which means “completion, completely destroyed.” The word chosen by Matthew for this Hebrew was SYNTELEIAS.
14 Sign: This is the Greek SEMEION which occurs again at Matthew 24:30. Note it also occurs in the Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX) of the Second or Third Century BCE at Daniel 9:27 (SYNTELEIAS).
15 Arrival: This is the Greek PAROUSIA and means “arrival” or a royal visit (See Thayer’s or Vine’s). Strong’s #3952, “advent, return, coming, presence.” It is only used in one of the Gospels, Matthew. Paul uses it with reference to the return of Christ at 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 9. Jesus had never been recorded using this word by Matthew as the Greek translator. It is believed the Nazarene spoke Hebrew (with certain Aramaic loan words) and so it is possible he used a word like athah; (Strong’s #857, #858, meaning “arrive”) from Daniel 7:13, 22. In the other two Gospels dealing with this subject “the end” of Jerusalem’s Temple, other synonyms are used instead of PAROUSIA: Mark 13:26 ERCHOMENON; Mark 13:35 ERCHETAI (= coming), and, Mark 13:36 ELTHON (= arrive). Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines PAROUSIA (Strong’s #3952) as “the coming, arrival, advent… the future, visible return from heaven of Jesus.” The Dictionary of New Testament Theology (DNTT), volume 2, page 898, explains: “Technically the noun is used for the arrival of a ruler or king… The idea of parousia now becomes bound up with the church’s expectations of Christ’s appearing.”
16 Complete end: Here the Greek is a heightened form of TELOS (= end), SYNTELEIAS (= with + end). The disciples likely assumed that the destruction of the Temple meant the Return (Presence) or Arrival of Christ and therefore “the end of the world” as they knew it. The Greek translator of Matthew (likely Matthew himself) puts the word SYNTELEIAS in the disciples’ mouth. This is a word that only occurred once before in the Nazarene’s parable of wheat and tares at Matthew 13:40. However, note this word occurs in the Jewish Greek Bible (LXX) at Daniel 9:27 in the context of Jerusalem’s foretold ‘desolation.’ Compare also Hebrews 9:26 where SYNTELEIA is used with regard to the First Coming of Christ in the “last days” of the Jewish Age (Hebrews 1:1; Acts 2:17; Jude 18; 1 Corinthians 10:11). Judging from Jesus’ admission that he does not ‘know the day and hour’ (Matthew 24:36) there is no way the Nazarene could tell his disciples about the date of “the complete end” or SYNTELEIAS.
17 Age: This is the Greek AIONOS which is corrupted into English by aeon or eon. Though in certain contexts the old English word “world” might be correctly understood, it is often misleading for it gives the idea the earth and all life on it is to end. However, the word “Age” conveys a certain period of time during which certain contemporaries live, such as the Age of the Dinosaurs or the Atomic Age. The King James translators did use AION (Strong’s #165 1074) as “ages” in Ephesians 2:7 and Colossians 1:26 so they were fully aware of its real meaning. The implication of “world” might be misleading.
18 When will this all occur: Can anyone argue that the disciples did not have in mind the Temple and its destruction?

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

|| Mark 13:5-8; Luke 21:8-11

MT24:4 And, Jesus answered them:19 “Look out no one misleads you.
19 Jesus answered them: Note the very thing Jesus mentions is a warning which would indicate his insight into their misunderstanding and the human tendency to want signs (1 Corinthians 1:22; Matthew 12:39) or to know the future (Acts 1:6). Evidently, the disciples wanted to know a precise “day and hour” for Jesus later explains he does not know this (Matthew 24:36). Perhaps the main verse on the whole subject is, ‘Look out no one misleads you,’ but sadly Jesus predicts ‘many will be mislead.’ (Matthew 24:11)
MT24:5 For many will come using my name,20 saying: ‘I AM THE ANOINTED!’21 {MK13:6 Or, ‘I AM HE!’22 LK21:8 Or, ‘THE APPOINTED TIME HAS COME!’23 Do not follow them!24} They will mislead many!25
20 Using my name: Or, using my authority; claiming I sent them. A characteristic of these deceivers is their claim that only they represent Christ. They are identified by several other features: the claim, ‘Christ is here!’ and ‘The Time is at hand!’ and ‘I (we are) am The Anointed!’ Some claim Christ’s authority because of apostolic succession, a personal appearance, or singular understanding by the Spirit’s direction. The claim ‘I am the Christ (or, Anointed)’ could be by a body or organization asserting particular channels to Christ (1 Corinthians 1:13; 12:12). In other words, they are the only group or sect that is truly Christian.
21 THE ANOINTED: Or, the Christ; the Messiah. See the above footnote.
22 I AM HE: A claim to actually be the Messiah or even God Himself.
23 THE APPOINTED TIME HAS COME: Or, ‘the time is at hand.’ Anyone who claims to know more than Christ (Matthew 24:36) and predicts the exact date for the Presence (parousia) or Return of Christ is arrogant in the extreme. Jesus does not know this “appointed time” (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32) nor can his disciples (Mark 13:33). At Acts 1:7 Jesus cautioned his disciples, ‘It is not for you to know times or appointed times.’ Anyone who claimed to have worked out some time chronology or prophetic “appointed times” would presume to know more than Christ and his Apostles. The hundreds of men and groups or organizations who have claimed such throughout the centuries are sadly well known. Not only might some claim Christ’s authority but they will also claim to know “the appointed time.” Others translate this: “The Time Is At Hand!” (By); “the time is near” (NIV); “the Day is upon us” (NEB) This ought to be a serious warning to any Christian teacher or group not to go around predicting such things; and, for any lay-person to refrain from taken such seriously, or fearing them as if they had authority (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
24 Do not follow them: Could anything be clearer? The Jerusalem Bible renders this: “Do not join them.” What to “join” and what not to “join” the Nazarene makes certain: none claiming, ‘THE TIME IS AT HAND!’
25 They will mislead many: Jesus knows the result because he knows human nature. Millions have followed various sects or charismatic preachers whose teachings are associated with the claim that ‘THE TIME IS AT HAND’ or ‘THE APPOINTED TIME IS NEAR!’ It is in the fallen egocentric nature of man to assume Christ must return while they are alive!
MT24:6 But, you will hear of wars and reports of wars and catastrophes.26 Do not be terrified27 for these early occurrences are a necessity. But, the End28 does not occur immediately.
26 You will hear of wars and reports of wars and catastrophes: It follows upon Jesus’ warning that the disciples are not to interpret or read into various local or world happenings as proof “the appointed time is near.” What has actually been interpreted as “signs of the last days” is in fact part of the warning not to be misled by world events. So, the very thing Jesus warned about, religious men have turned into certain “signs” and these men have multiplied throughout the centuries taking advantage of every new report of war, revolutions, catastrophes, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, or comets. Today is no different.
27 Do not be terrified: It should be kept in mind the Nazarene is speaking to “you” (plural in Greek) which means the four disciples before him (Mark 13:3). The Apostles are not to fear any news reports, whether local or distant, as proof “the end” is near.
28 The End: Here the translator of the Hebrew words of the Nazarene into Greek puts TO TELOS (the end) into Jesus’ mouth. SYNTELEIAS, the word used to translate possibly kalah from the disciples, is a more heightened and sophisticated word which means roughly the same thing as “the end.” SYNTELEIAS = SYN + TELOS = with + end, like saying conclusion, consummation or fulfillment. What “end” would the disciples have in mind? The desolation of the Temple and the “end” of Jerusalem. Note, Jesus never uses SYNTELEIAS in his answer, but always TELOS; and this only in the first half of the answer. When the Nazarene says “the End” here would he be referring to the “end” of the Temple? Between Jesus’ answer and the final destruction of the Temple the disciples could expect to hear of wars, disorders, famines, plagues, and earthquakes.
MT24:7 For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and here and there {LK21:11 pestilence and} famines and earthquakes.29
29 Famines and earthquakes: War, pestilence, famines, and earthquakes are reoccurring events which always serve the purpose of the current prophet with his false prophecies pointing to his claim, ‘THE TIME IS AT HAND!’ If Jesus warns about such false prophecies how could he go on to list such things as evidence of a “sign” for any generation could be misled by such?
MT24:8 But, all these things are a beginning of birth-pangs.30
30 A beginning of birth-pangs: All of these events can be understood to be part of the warning not to be misled by local or world news. It is all so general as to be meaningless if applied to a specific “sign” to precede the Return of Christ. Generations throughout the centuries have seen all of these and experienced those “prophets” who took financial advantage of the innocent among The Elect.

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

|| Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19

MT24:9 {MK13:9 “But, (LK21:12 before all these things31) you look after yourselves:32 they will turn you over to Sanhedrins33 (LK21:12 and synagogues34 and prisons) to be beaten and flayed. And you will stand before kings and governors35 on my account (LK21:12 and on account of my name36) as a testimony to them.”} “They will hand you over to oppression37 and kill you38 and you will be hated by all nations for my name.
31 Before all these things: Jesus foretells the very events recorded in the Book of Acts. These are the things the Apostles will experience before “the end” of Jerusalem and her Temple in the year 70 CE.
32 You look after yourselves: The Apostles asking the question.
33 Sanhedrins: Note the occurrences of “you” (meaning the disciples or Apostles) and now this word “Sanhedrin.” This proves Jesus has in mind the experience of his own Jewish followers as these finally occurred in the Book of Acts (Acts chs 2-8). He is discussing those events prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD when any such “Sanhedrins” ceased to exist.
34 Synagogues: Note Jesus still has his Jewish disciples in mind. See this fulfillment in Acts chs 4, 5, 16, 22-26 (John 16:1, 2).
35 Before kings and governors: Again this foretold experience of the disciples can be read in Acts chs 4-7, 22-26.
36 My name: There is a singular “name” for which Christians are hated. Note this is not the Father’s name here, that is Yahweh, or Jehovah. It is rather the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene (Acts 3:6; 4:10; 24:5; 1 Peter 4:14). A word search on “name” will show it pertains to “Jesus” almost always, and seldom the Father.
37 Oppression: The Greek THLIPSIN root meaning is squeeze or press and so oppression. It may mean persecution or personal tribulation as an external or internal pressure. (See DNTT Volume 2, page 807: “press, squeeze, crush.”) The word is later used by the Nazarene when referring to “great oppression.” (Matthew 24:21) Compare Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20.
38 Kill you: This begins with the first martyr Stephen in Acts chs 7, 8.
MT24:10 And then many will stumble39 and they will betray one another and hate one another. {MK13:12 Brother, relatives, and friends will hand you over to death. Children will turn against parents and put them to death.}
39 Many will stumble: Jesus foretells the stumbling of many during those decades leading up to the year 70. However, such stumbling has occurred throughout the centuries right to the present as a result of those false prophets and their predictions that “The Time Is At Hand!”
MT24:11 Many false prophets will rise40 and mislead many.
40 Many false prophets will rise: See the writings of Josephus on the rise of false prophets preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. They may be false prophets because they proclaim “the appointed time is near” and point to various dates for the Return of Christ. These are dates foretold but which do not materialize in the manner predicted.
MT24:12 Because of increasing lawlessness41 the love of many will cool.42
41 Lawlessness: This lawlessness may be inside the Church itself as Jesus uses this word in his parable of the Wheat and Tares (Zizania) at Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Paul uses the word to describe the apostate “man of lawlessness” at 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. Surely, this “lawlessness” includes false predictions claiming, “The Time Is At Hand.”
42 The love of many will cool: Jesus counsels the Angelic Presbyter of Ephesus on this at Revelation 2:1-3. There “love” is highly associated with “works” and these must be foremost those of faith and charity as 1 John 3:23 shows.
MT24:13 But the one who endures completely43 will be saved. {LK21:18 Not a hair of your head will perish. LK21:19 By your endurance you will acquire your souls.44}
43 Endures completely: Or, to the end. This word “end” (TELOS) is without the Greek article and cannot be the same as “the end” elsewhere in Jesus’ answer. This is the “end” of the Christian race of endurance for each of these Apostles (Luke 21:19; Revelation 2:10).
44 You will acquire your souls: Your future immortal life as a spiritual person or soul in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:45-52; Acts 2:27, 31).
MT24:14 And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached45 {MK13:10 first} in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations. And then The End46 will come. {MK13:11 And when they lead you away to hand you over do not worry beforehand. (LK21:14 Do not premeditate a defense47 regarding what you will say.) The holy Pneuma will speak for you. LK21:15 I shall give you a mouth of wisdom so all those lying about you will not be able to resist or contradict.}
45 The Kingdom will be preached: Compare Colossians 1:23 and Acts 2:5. Before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 the Kingdom Gospel had been preached throughout the known Roman world and to representatives of all the nations. This particular preaching campaign is that of the early disciples leading up to “the end” of Jerusalem.
46 The End: The SYNTELEIAS the disciples had in mind with the destruction “the end” of the Jewish Temple Age. Here Jesus uses TELOS. Note this is the last occurrence of the word “end” and it is not used again later when the Nazarene’s focus turns to his own Arrival or Parousia.
47 Do not premeditate a defense: Peter, Stephen and Paul are good examples of these defenses in the Book of Acts.

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 Thing48 of The Desolation49 [Daniel 9:27] {LK21:20 (encamped armies encircling Jerusalem)50 [Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:15-17, 44, 45]} (as spoken by Daniel the prophet) standing in a Holy Place51 [Daniel 8:11-14; 9:26] (let the reader be mindful)52 {LK21:20 know, then, her desolation has drawn near.53 [Daniel 8:13; 9:26, 27; 11:31; 12:11]}
48 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.
49 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.
50 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.
51 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.
52 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)
53 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.
MT24:16 Then, let those in Judea54 flee into the mountains55 {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 written56}
54 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.
55 Flee into the mountains: There is some evidence certain Christians did flee to the mountains of Perea.
56 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.”
MT24:17 The one on the housetop,57 let him not come down to enter his house.
57 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.
MT24:18 And the one in the field, let him not return to grab his outer garment. MT24:19 But, woe to the pregnant58 in those days {LK21:23 for there will be great necessity upon earth and wrath to this People.59 LK21:24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword and they will be led captive60 into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations61 [Daniel 8:10, 13; 12:7] until the fulfillment of the appointed times of the nations.62 [Daniel 12:7]}
58 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).
59 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).
60 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.
61 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)
62 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.
MT24:20 But keep praying your flight be not in winter63 nor on the Sabbath.64
63 Winter: A space of three or four months.
64 Sabbath: Does Jesus still have his Jewish disciples and the Jewish peoples in mind?
MT24:21 For then those days will be a great oppression65 of a sort not to have occurred from the beginning of the world66 {MK13:19 which God created} until now but will never occur again.67 [Daniel 12:1]
65 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.
66 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.
67 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.
MT24:22 And if [YHWH]68 {MK13:20} did not shorten those days69 it is unlikely any flesh70 would be saved. But for the Elect71 {MK13:20 He chose} those days will be shortened.
68 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].
69 Shorten those days: The period of oppression against Jerusalem.
70 Flesh: Jewish flesh according to the context.
71 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).
MT24:23 {MK13:21} And then if anyone says to you: ‘Look! Christ is here!’72 Or, ‘There!’ you should not believe it.73
72 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.
73 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.
MT24:24 {MK13:22} For many pseudo-anointed74 and false prophets75 will rise. They will give great signs and wonders76 so as to mislead, if possible, The Elect.77
74 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.
75 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.
76 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).
77 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.’
MT24:25 {MK13:23} Look! I have foretold everything!78
78 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.’
MT24:26 Therefore, if ever they say to you: ‘Look! He is in the desert!’79 you should not follow them. Or, ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers!’80 you should not believe them.
79 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.
80 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.
MT24:27 For as the lightning81 comes out of the east and shines to the west so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.82 [Daniel 7:14, 22]
81 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.
82 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)?
MT24:28 Where the carcass is there the eagles will gather.83
83 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).

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 oppression84 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 light85 and the stars will fall from the heaven86 and the heavenly dynamics will be shaken.87 [Isaiah 13:10] {LK21:25 And upon the earth anguish of nations in perplexity (noise of an agitated sea)88 LK21:26 men fainting from fear89 and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.}
84 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.
85 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.
86 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.
87 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.”
88 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.
89 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.
MT24:30 And then there will appear90 in the sky the sign of the Son of Humankind.91 [Daniel 12:1; Isaiah 11:12] Then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation.92 They will see the Son of Humankind93 coming on the clouds of the sky94 [Daniel 7:13, 22; 12:1] with power and much glory.95 {LK21:28 But as these things start to occur96 rise and look upward97 because your deliverance is drawing near.98}
90 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.’
91 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)
92 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.
93 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”?
94 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.
95 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.
96 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.
97 Look upward: Or, “lift up your heads”; that is in the direction of the descending Lord in the atmospheric “air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
98 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.
MT24:31 And the Son of Humankind will send off his angels99 with a great trumpet100 and they will gather his Chosen Ones101 from the four winds102 {MK13:27 from the extremity of earth to heaven’s extremity} from one extreme of the sky to another extreme.103 [Isaiah 11;12]
99 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?
100 A great trumpet: Note 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 11:15, 18.
101 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.
102 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.
103 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.
MT24:32 {MK13:28} But learn from the fig tree,104 {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.
104 Fig tree: Some see Israel in this fig tree, but note the Nazarene mentions all the other trees.
MT24:33 {MK13:29} So, also, when you see these things you will know that he is near at the doors.105 {LK21:31 Know the Kingdom of God is near!106}
105 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.”
106 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.
MT24:34 I tell you this truth: this generation will not pass away107 until all these things occur.
107 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.
MT24:35 {LK21:33} The heaven and the earth will pass away108 but my words will never pass away.109
108 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).
109 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)

Matthew 24:36-41 – About That Day and Hour

|| Mark 13:32, 33

MT24:36 “But, about that day and hour110 no one knows111 neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son112 but only the Father. {MK13:33 Keep looking and remain awake113 for you do not know when the appointed time is.114}
110 That day and hour: An appointed time for what? Is it not the Arrival or parousia of Christ? It would seem so. The following context compares and contrasts the Parousia or Arrival with the Master’s return to judge his Household. The fact that the Nazarene uses “day and hour” would argue that he does not have some generational period in mind, but something which occurs in a single day.
111 No one knows: The ignorance is absolute with the exception of the Father. This point is repeated to the disciples at Acts 1:7, ‘It is not yours to know times or appointed times which the Father put within His own authority.’ If the disciples’ original question inferred a “day and hour” then they asked a question Jesus could not answer. The Nazarene does answer within his own limitations and according to what is already written in the Prophets. With Luke 21:8 in mind how could some Bible student or evangelical prophet claim to know more than Christ, by having worked out some time chronology, which Jesus would have known had it really existed?
112 Nor the Son: The Son’s ignorance here indicates his inferiority contrasted with his Father, God.
113 Remain awake: There is a tension here between ignorance and expectation. Perhaps the expectation or hope is heightened by the ignorance. All the Saints hope the Parousia will occur in their lifetimes but they cannot go about predicting this would actually take place (Luke 21:8; Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Revelation 16:15).
114 You do not know when the appointed time is: No professed disciple of Jesus Christ can claim to know “The Appointed Time is near!” as the Nazarene warns of it in Luke 21:8. It would be the height of arrogance and presumptuousness to assert one knew more than Christ! (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) No doubt because of human egocentricity, and a degree of self-importance, various persons have always assumed Christ must return because they are alive!
MT24:37 For even as the days of Noah115 so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.116 [Daniel 7:13, 22]
115 Days of Noah: Is the point here to calculate some length to the “generation” before the Return of Christ, or is it merely to warn about the attitudes of persons before the Flood? At Luke 17:26-31, in discussing ‘the revealing of the Son of Man,’ the emphasis is on “that day” not a generational period preceding the Return of Christ.
116 The Arrival of the Son of Humankind: This is the Nazarene’s second of three uses of the word PAROUSIA which means the arrival or visit of a royal or important person. Thayer’s, page 490 (Strong’s #3952): “… the advent, i.e. the future, visible, return from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah.” It can be translated “presence” but synonyms such as “came, coming, arrive, arrived, arrival” are used most often in Matthew ch 24, 25; Mark ch 13; Luke ch 21. “Parousia became the official term for a visit of a person of high rank… of Christ, and nearly always of his Messianic Advent in glory.” (Bauer, Ardnt, and Gingrich A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, page 635)
MT24:38 For as in those days before the Cataclysm117 [Genesis 7:17 LXX] they were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the Ark.118 [Genesis 7:13]
117 Cataclysm: This is exactly the Greek word normally translated “flood.” The Greek means to “wash (down) much” or a big deluge. The Nazarene points to those contemporaries of Noah who were preoccupied with everyday matters without any concern for Noah’s prediction of a Flood. Jesus clearly believes in the Flood account otherwise it would be absurd to use it as a parallel to his own Arrival. Interestingly, the Greek word CATACLYSM is used in Daniel 9:26 (LXX) in the context of Jerusalem’s foretold destruction or desolation.
118 The day Noah entered the Ark: The “day” of the Flood parallels the parousia of Christ, that is that “day and hour” when the Master arrives or returns for his judgment on his own Household. Note the next phrase specifically likens the day of the flood to the Return of Christ. Luke 17:29 adds, ‘on the day Lot left Sodom.’
MT24:39 And they knew not until the Cataclysm came and swept them away, so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.119
119 The Arrival of the Son of Humankind: This is the last of three uses of PAROUSIA where it is compared to the day of the Flood, not that whole generational period before.
MT24:40 Then two will be in the field,120 one will be taken along121 and the other left behind.122
120 In the field: In Luke 17:27-31 this is “on that day” of the “revealing of the Son of Man.” In these cases, approved persons in the field and at the mill are engaged in normal labors. This would have been a fine opportunity for the Nazarene to mention how these persons were zealously involved in some missionary activity, but he does not. This is a “day” and a limited period of time for workers, are in the field or at the mill only during the working “day” of twelve hours (Matthew 20:6).
121 Taken along: In Greek this is PARALAUBANETAI and may be compared to the related word used at John 14:3, PARALEMPSOMAI, where Jesus seems to refer to the gathering of his Chosen. This word in John 14:3 is the same word at Luke 17:34. DDNT, Vol 3, page 747ff: “LAMBANO, originally grasp, seize [compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and HARPAGESOMETHA]… PARALAMBANO means to draw someone to oneself… Forms of the word (ANALAMBANO) are used of the ascension of Christ in Acts 1:11… ANALEMPSIS, lifting up high, being taken up in Luke 9:51 is generally interpreted of Christ’s ascension. PARALAMBANO to take someone with oneself, to choose out from a large number (John 14:3; Matthew 24:40).” The use of these words is so similar in thought to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to imply being “taken along” in the Rapture.
122 Left behind: There will be those who do not participate in the Rapture who are “left behind” or abandoned to the events to occur on earth (Note Revelation 11:12). As we shall see all is not necessarily lost by this abandonment but it does rule out any thought of heaven.
MT24:41 Two women will be grinding in the mill,123 one will be taken along and one will be left behind.
123 Two women will be grinding in the mill: If one is “taken along” (grabbed or seized or received home to Christ) and the other is “left” it is obvious that the woman “left” is left at the mill as her fellow worker is “taken along.” In Luke 17:37 this is where the disciples ask, “Where, Lord?” and he answers with the cryptic similar to Matthew 24:28. Why does Jesus not give an example of two good women praying at the church or otherwise in the service of God?

Matthew 24:42-51 – Stay Awake!

|| Mark 13:34-37; Luke 21:34-36

MT24:42 “So, continue to remain awake124 because none of you has any idea125 on what kind of day126 your Master is arriving.127 {LK21:34 But, pay attention to yourselves128 that somehow your hearts become heavy129 because of overeating, drunkenness, and anxieties130 LK21:35 and suddenly that Day rise as a snare!131 For that Day will come upon everyone who lives on the surface of the whole earth.132 LK21:36 Keep awake and all the time begging [God] so you might be strong enough to escape133 everything about to occur and to stand before the Son of Humankind.134}
124 Continue to remain awake: Or, watch therefore [KJV], keep awake [NEB], be watching [BAS], be on the alert [WEY].
125 Has any idea: Or, ye know not [KJV], you do not know [NEB]. Compare Matthew 24:6 and Acts 1:7.
126 What kind of day: Or, what hour [KJV], on what day [ASV], what sort of [KIT], on what day [BAS], in what hour [DAR]. It is possible the phrase means what time of the day as well. Compare Mark 13:35.
127 Your Master is arriving: Or, doth come [KJV], your Lord will come [BAS], is coming [KIT]. The Greek is ERKHETAI [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2064], used both of persons arriving and of those returning, and may, according to context be rendered “returning.” The word is a virtual synonym for PAROUSIA used elsewhere in Matthew 24 but never in Mark 13 and Luke 21.
128 Pay attention to yourselves: Now the Nazarene concludes with directions to remain awake and alert. In Mark and Luke the teachings end here but in Matthew chapter 25 a series of parables are given outlining two groups: the faithful and unfaithful or the righteous and unrighteous.
129 Heavy: Or, weighed down. RSV, NIV KJV: overcharged with surfeiting; LB: living in careless ease; PME: clouded with dissipation; TEV: occupied with; JB: coarsened; NEB: minds be dulled.
130 Anxieties: If we parallel this phrase with the attitude before the Flood, ‘eating and drinking and marrying and building and selling,’ then the Nazarene is warning about taking on that characteristic of those “who took no note.” These anxieties, or being overly concerned about life and livelihood, could involve marriage, commerce and construction (Luke 17:28). The Nazarene has not changed his attitude about being distracted by daily pursuits as he taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34). What is the difference here with those who were working in the fields or mill and yet who were “taken along”? It is a matter of the heart’s focus and expectation. The man in the field and the woman at the mill have not lost their hope in the Parousia and judging from the parable of the sheep and goats, both are kind and good human beings who have never neglected even the humblest person (Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).
131 Suddenly that Day rise as a snare: “That day” is no generational period as if one had a warning lasting more than 40, 80, or more years. The parousia comes suddenly and at a time not expected even by the Chosen Ones (Matthew 24:42, 44).
132 On the surface of the whole earth: Does it not appear to be a global event?
133 Escape: Compare the JPS Tanakh at Daniel 12:1 and the word “escape.” The Aramaic of Daniel 12:1 may be rendered “escape” or “rescued” (delivered). Compare the idea of “rescue” with the “snatching” or Rapture at 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and the call “Come out!” at Revelation 18:4.
134 Stand before the Son of Humankind: Compare 1 John 2:28 and 4:17 with 2 Corinthians 5:10. Those professing “Jesus is Lord!” will rise in the parousia-Judgment and receive their award or payment for what they did in their Christian lives, good or vile (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10). They will then, before the Judgment of Christ, be “outspoken” or “ashamed.” (1 John 2:28; 4:17)
MT24:43 But, know this that if the household had known135 in what watch the thief arrived136 he would have stayed awake and his house would not be ransacked.
135 If the household had known: The realm of the professing Christians (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15).
136 In what watch the thief arrived: Christ’s sudden appearance as the Master of the House is thief-like (Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; 16:15). If a Christian prophet were able to calculate some time chronology and thus the “day and hour” of the Lord’s Arrival or parousia and it would no longer be like a thief in its suddenness.
MT24:44 You also prove yourselves ready137 because in an hour you are not expecting138 the Son of Humankind is coming.139 {MK13:34 It is like a man140 leaving his own House and giving authority to his people, to each one his own duties,141 commanding the doorkeeper to stay awake. MK13:35 So, you stay awake, for when the Master of the House is coming you do not know. Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn.142 MK13:36 Or, the Master of the House, having arrived suddenly,143 might find you sleeping.144 MK13:37 But, what I say to you, I say to all:145 Stay awake!}
137 Prove yourselves ready: How does a Christian do this? Expectation is a matter of the heart and thus a matter of faith. Real faith will manifest itself in some speech and action. It is not manifest in being preoccupied with the daily matters like those persons before the Flood. Since the return of Christ is unknown it follows that Christians of all periods must be ready by a) regular prayer; b) faith; c) charity to fellows; d) avoidance of over-eating, drunkenness, and anxieties over livelihood.
138 In an hour you are not expecting: Thus no Christian can work out some prophetic time-chronology to calculate this “coming” or Arrival (Luke 21:8; Acts 1:7).
139 The Son of Humankind is coming: This is a phrase which parallels or stands as a synonym for ‘presence of the Son of Man.’ The Greek is ERKHETAI and equals PAROUSIA.
140 Like a man: The parable illustrates the departure of the “man” Christ who charges his disciples to remain at work.
141 To each one his own duties: These vary with the ‘talent’ or responsibility of each one as other parables teach: 5, 3, or 1. Paul outlines these varied “gifts” in 1 Corinthians ch 12; Romans ch 12 (Note Ephesians 4:16).
142 Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn: If the parousia were a generational period then it would be absurd to pinpoint these moments in a day or night. The Return of Christ or Arrival of the Lord is within a moment occupied by the brief period of a day’s various watches.
143 Having arrived suddenly: “Arrived” is a synonym for PAROUSIA or “presence” in the Gospels. “Come” can also be a synonym (Revelation 2:25; 3:3).
144 Sleeping: Note 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 5:1, 2, 6-8.
145 I say to all: The Nazarene not only speaks to the four disciples before him but “all” those who will become disciples in future generations (John 17:20).
MT24:45 Really, who is the faithful and discreet slave146 whom his Master appointed over the Master’s own domestics147 to give them food at an appointed time?148
146 Who is the faithful and discreet slave: This is a rhetorical question the Nazarene raises for the second time in his ministry. It is best understood by comparing the earlier account in a more expanded version at Luke 12:40-42. Judging from the context of Luke ch 12 it may be limited to the Apostles but at the same time have some personal application to any individual Christian “slave.” (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2)
147 Domestics: Or, household (KJV, LB, PME, RSV, JB); other servants (TEV, NIV); household staff (NEB). That is, the live in help. The Slave is charged with feeding the “domestics” or fellow Saints in the Household of God. In Luke 12:42 this is THERAPEIAS or “therapists.” The Apostles, as the Faithful Slave, were found literally caring for food distribution in Acts chapters 2 to 6. Matthew 24:46 says, ‘Happy that slave if his Lord finds him doing so when he arrives.’
148 To give them food at an appointed time: This is often given a spiritual application without the context indicating this. The facts are, the Faithful Slave, the Apostles, are found caring for “food distribution” in Acts chs 2 to 6.
MT24:46 Happy is that slave, when his Master arrives,149 finds him doing so.
149 Arrives: The Parousia of Christ or the Master’s “coming.”
MT24:47 I tell you this truth: the Master will appoint him150 over all his belongings.
150 The Master will appoint him: make him ruler. The final appointment as king, judge, and priest (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4, 6).
MT24:48 But, if ever that bad slave151 says in his heart: ‘My Master is taking his time!’152
151 Bad slave: In the four parables concluding the Nazarene’s answer to his disciples’ question there are: 1) a faithful and bad slave; 2) five wise and five foolish virgins; 3) slaves with five, three, and one talent; and, 4) the sheep and goats. All deal with the “arrival” (presence) of a master, bridegroom, a nobleman (Luke 19:13-26), and, a judge.
152 My Master is taking his time: Unfortunately the phrase “the delay of the parousia” has become a catch phrase among theological scholars when discussing what they perceive as Jesus’ failed prophecy regarding an imminent parousia.
MT24:49 and he should start beating his fellow slaves153 and eat and drink154 with the drunkards
153 Beating his fellow slaves: Among the “oppressive wolves” who do not treat the flock with “tenderness.” (Acts 20:29, 30)
154 Eat and drink: Back to the parallel with Noah’s day.
MT24:50 the Master will arrive155 in that day he is not expecting and in an hour156 he is not knowing
155 The Master will arrive: The parousia. The word group “arrive” in the context of the “coming” of Christ is used several times as a synonym for PAROUSIA (Matthew 10:23; 25:10, 31; Mark 8:38; 13:36; Luke 9:26; 12:38; 18:8; 22:18).
156 In an hour: This is no generational period of time but the “hour” of the parousia within a certain “day.” The Nazarene uses the word “hour” over a half dozen times in the context of his parousia (Matthew 24:36, 44, 50; 25:13; Mark 13:32; Luke 12:39, 40, 46).
MT24:51 and the Master will cut him asunder157 and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!”
157 The Master will cut him asunder: Or, to bisect; cut in two. A severe treatment similar to Luke 12:46 and Matthew 25:46.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved