“Am I therefore become your enemy for telling you the truth?”
The Apostle Paul Galatians 4:16
The 24th chapter of Matthew is taken from
The New Testament in Modern Speech
translated by Richard F. Weymouth, The Pilgrim Press, Boston, 1912, 1930
Commentary compliments of Mark Smith
1 Jesus had left the Temple and was going on His way, when His disciples came and called His attention to the Temple buildings.
His disciples bring to his attention the beautiful buildings of the Jewish temple, one of the wonders of the world at that time.
2 "You see all these?" He replied; "in solemn truth I tell you that there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be pulled down."
3 Afterwards He was on the Mount of Olives and was seated there when the disciples came to Him, apart from the others, and said, "Tell us when this will be; and what will be the sign of your Coming and of the Close of the Age?"
The Address on the Envelope
Jesus is being questioned by, and is responding to, his Apostles, and no one else here in this 24th chapter of Matthew. The text goes out of its way to communicate this. This is not an envelope addressed "Occupant" but rather addressed specifically "To The Apostles". The entire discourse shows the message was for the First Century Apostles, and not concerned with people living thousands of years in the future. Please follow the "us's" and "you's" etc. that I have put in bold formatting, to see exactly whom Jesus was speaking to.
4 "Take care that no one misleads you," answered Jesus;
"You" = First Century Apostles
The warnings are to the First Century Apostles, and NOT to people millions of years distant.
5 "for many will come assuming my name and saying `I am the Christ;' and they will mislead many.
6 And before long you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Do not be alarmed, for such things must be; but the End is not yet.
"Before Long" = Soon
The "before long" is reinforced in the Greek by the word "mello" meaning, "to be on the point of doing or suffering something".
7 For nation will rise in arms against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places;
8 but all these miseries are but like the early pains of childbirth.
"Pains of Childbirth" = Soon
Again, no room for thousands of years. This was all due-
9 "At that time they will deliver you up to punishment and will put you to death; and you will be objects of hatred to all the nations because you are called by my name.
Persecution Fulfilled in First Century
Another indication this is a First Century event. For those of you who buy into the book, the book by William McBirnie, "The Search for the Twelve Apostles" claims to document how, within the First Century, all these Apostles to whom Jesus spoke ended up being persecuted, some even to death. And again, Jesus is talking to the "YOU" of the First Century Apostles, and not to every Tom, Dick and Harry since then.
10 Then will many stumble and fall, and they will betray one another and hate one another.
11 Many false prophets will rise up and lead multitudes astray;
12 and because of the prevalent disregard of God's law the love of the great majority will grow cold;
Apostasy Fulfilled in First Century
"The Apostasy" was a daily fact of First Century church life. Judas Iscariot, and Ananias & Sapphira were apostates near the beginning of the Christian era, and toward the end of the First Century, 1st John 2:18 records the then current existence of not one, but many, "anti-
"For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me… Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds… he has vigorously opposed our teaching." (2nd Timothy 4:10-
13 but those who stand firm to the End shall be saved.
"Stand Firm To End" = Within Lifetime
This is just one of several places within the New Testament where it is indicated that the Second Coming is something these Apostles (and others of that century) could, if they "stood firm", hope to see within their lifetime.
Other references are: Heb. 3:6, 14; Rev. 2:25,26 etc. The "shall be saved" is not the "instant-
14 And this Good News of the Kingdom shall be proclaimed throughout the whole world to set the evidence before all the Gentiles; and then the End will come.
Gospel Whole Earth: 1st Century Also
The New Testament claims that well before the 1st Century ended the entire world had ALREADY been evangelized with the gospel. Examine the following two verses for confirmation of this claim:
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."
(Rm 10: 17,18 RSV)
The gospel… has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Col. 1:23 NIV)
15 "When you have seen (to use the language of the Prophet Daniel) the `Abomination of Desolation', standing in the Holy Place" -
"Holy Place" = First Century Temple
In case no one noticed, there hasn't been a temple of Jehovah to "stand in" since the Jewish temple got razed in 70 AD. Once again, this points to a 1st Century era.
As for Christian Fundies who teach that another temple may some day be constructed, does that mean that your Biblegod is behind said construction, thus making it a "Holy Place"? Can just anybody, at any time, with or without prior authorization from your Biblegod, go around building temples that somehow then automatically become "holy"? If so, then what of the Mormon temples? What if all the Atheists got together, and built a temple there in Jerusalem? Constructing an object that looks like a living human body (i.e. a statue) or a "holy" temple does not make said object a living human body or a "holy" temple.
16 "then let those who are in Judaea escape to the hills;
17 let him who is on the roof not go down to fetch what is in his house;
18 nor let him who is outside the city stay to pick up his outer garment.
19 And alas for the women who at that time are with child or have infants!
20 "But pray that your flight may not be in winter, nor on the Sabbath;
21 for it will be a time of great suffering, such as never has been from the beginning of the world till now, and assuredly never will be again.
First Century Israel
These phrases "those who are in Judaea" and "on a Sabbath" are a big hint that in location, this scenario is placed in the Israel of yesteryear. Another clue is the mentioning of people being up on roofs, indicates the flat roofs that were common back then during the First Century. These HINTS hint of First Century Israel, and NOT modern day Los Angeles or Tokyo.
22 And if those days had not been cut short, no one would escape; but for the sake of God's own People those days will be cut short.
I hope that modern theologians are not the ones allowed to define the word "short" in this verse. If so, the suffering may last for thousands of years!!!
23 "If at that time any one should say to you, `See, here is the Christ!' or `Here!' give no credence to it.
24 For there will rise up false Christs and false prophets, displaying wonderful signs and prodigies, so as to deceive, were it possible, even God's own People.
25 Remember, I have forewarned you.
"Remember" = Alive = First Century
Jesus couldn't ask these people to stop in the middle of all these future disasters to remember what he had told them years in their past, unless they would yet be alive in the midst of all these future disasters. No future generations are in view here.
26 If therefore they should say to you, `See, He is in the Desert!' do not go out there: or `See, He is indoors in the room!' do not believe it.
27 For just as the lightning flashes in the east and is seen to the very west, so will be the Coming of the Son of Man.
Visibility = Problem for Preterist View
As with all things Christian, this doctrine of the Second Coming is fractured amongst various splinter groups. One such group, called the "Preterist", (and even this small splinter group is further splintered into even smaller groups) more or less believe that Jesus did return, however he returned in an "invisible" returning in 70 AD, and that's why everybody missed it.
The wording of Matthew, however, seems to contradict this belief. Matthew implies that if you were facing west-
28 Wherever the dead body is, there will the vultures flock together.
29 "But immediately after those times of distress the sun will be darkened, the moon will not shed her light, the stars will fall from the firmament, and the forces which control the heavens will be disordered and disturbed.
Immediately = First Century
Having already established that previous events were predicted to take place within the First Century, these remaining events, (i.e. the end of the universe as we know it) which were to immediately follow, would also have to be within the First Century as well. As for stars falling off the firmament, please check out my web site:
The Universe According To The Bible
30 Then will appear the Sign of the Son of Man in the sky; and then will all the nations of the earth lament, when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with great power and glory.
"Immediately…Then" = First Century
Next, a "sign" is said to appear in the sky, following all the other sky disturbances mentioned above. The use of the "then's" implies a fast-
Also, the "Son of Man" theme is the same as in all the other 2nd Coming texts, texts whose fulfillment were likewise promised within the lifetime of the First Century hearers.
31 And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet-
Yet Another Problem for the Preterist View
As the Preterists try to explain how Jesus returned invisibly in the First Century, they also need to explain how this verse was fulfilled without anyone noticing. How do you hide a worldwide infestation of billions of angels fluttering about in the sky while blowing horns at maximum volume? The preterists "answer" this via a common Christian dodge-
32 "Now learn from the fig-
33 So you also, when you see all these signs, may be sure that He is near-
"When YOU See" = First Century Apostles
Jesus tells his Apostles "when you see all these signs". Not "if" or "maybe" but when. Jesus was thus guaranteeing them that all these signs would take place within their lifetime, including the Second Coming.
Likewise note the reference to knowing summer is near if spring is already in bloom-
"At Your Very Door" = First Century
The phrase "He is near-
34 I tell you in solemn truth that the present generation will certainly not pass away without all these things having first taken place.
"The Present Generation" = First Century
There is much more to be said about verse 34 and its key word "generation." For now, let me point out that this 34th verse does not exist in a vacuum; it is the culmination of the last several verses, indeed, the whole chapter, all time references, and all of which lead up a specific point in time: Jesus' Second Coming, and THAT within their (not YOUR) lifetime. The context allows no other interpretation. For a LOT more information on verse 34, see my essay: Mt 24-
Another sure sign that Jesus was speaking of his return happening within the lifetime of the people back then listening to him speak are the words, here translated "the present" which precede the word "generation". The Greek for this is
which, according to Thayer's Greek-
"Trust Me, I'm Not Lying"
Jesus precedes the prophecy with "I tell you in solemn truth" and follows it in verse #35 with a claim that his words would outlast even the Universe. These facts should be a major hint this prophecy was an extremely important issue for him, and he wanted to be dead sure that nobody misunderstood him. In his own mind, even though he sincerely believed that he'd be back within that century, he was sincerely wrong. He did not, within the lifetime of that generation, return in the clouds, in the glory of Biblegod, with hordes of angels, with trumpets blowing. His prophecy turned out to be false, and that makes him a false prophet.
"All These Things" = Complete Package
Jesus says emphatically that "all these things" would happen before his then current generation had passed away. Jesus presents the entire package as a "take it or leave it" situation, picking and choosing not allowed. Some Christian "explanations" of this verse have attempted to slice & dice the 24th chapter into "some for back then, some for now, and maybe… some for the future". This fragmenting of the chapter is not allowed by Jesus' clear statement "all these things". ANY Christian theory that tries to explain away this "problem chapter" has to treat the chapter as a whole, and explain how all of it happened or didn't happen. Of course, since the date for the destruction (v. 2) of the Jewish temple is firmly established in history at 70 AD, and everything in this chapter is promised within a short time frame, this entire chapter is thus locked into the First Century, from which it can not escape.
35 Earth and sky will pass away, but it is certain that my words will not pass away.
36 "But as to that day and the exact time no one knows-
Within Certain Limits Exact "Day & Time"
Some have quibbled in the best Clintonian tradition that Jesus' no-
Jesus didn't give the exact year, or month, or day, or hour, or minute-
37 `For as it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the Coming of the Son of Man.
38 At that time, before the Deluge, men were busy eating and drinking, taking wives or giving them, up to the very day when Noah entered the Ark,
39 nor did they realise any danger till the Deluge came and swept them all away; so will it be at the Coming of the Son of Man.
Noah's Flood Was Within Noah's Generation
The flood that "Noah" warned everyone about was due within "Noah's" generation, not 10,000 years later. Jesus promised his Apostles that, as it was with "Noah", so also with the Second Coming. Therefore, the Second Coming was due within their lifetime.
NOTE: Some may have noticed that the spelling within the New Testament being quoted (Weymouth's Version) may differ from common usage. I noticed it too, but what should I do-
40 Then will two men be in the open country: one will be taken away, and one left behind.
41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken away, and one left behind.
42 Be on the alert therefore, for you do not know the day on which your Lord is coming.
43 But of this be assured, that if the master of the house had known the hour at which the robber was coming, he would have kept awake, and not have allowed his house to be broken into.
Keep Awake = Within Their Lifetime
If the burglar who was going to rob the house wasn't even due until centuries after both house and owner had dissolved into dust, Jesus' advice to to the home owner (i.e. his Apostles) to "keep awake" is total and complete nonsense. Therefore, Jesus must have believed his Second Coming would occur within their lifetime.
44 Therefore you also must be ready; for it is at a time when you do not expect Him that the Son of Man will come.
"Be Ready" = Within Their Lifetime
It has been more than 1,970 years since Jesus sounded the alarm warning his Apostles (not you, bozo) about his Second Coming. Looking back with hindsight, him getting his Apostles all worked up about this event makes no sense at all, unless he himself expected to be back within their lifetime. One does not pull a fire alarm thousands of years in advance of the fire.
And for those who think Jesus was NOT specifically limiting this statement to his Apostles, then WHY does he tell THEM to be ready for the Second Coming??? IF what Jesus was referring to was NOT to take place until 50 billion trillion years later, WHY IN HELL WOULD JESUS BE TELLING THEM of the First Century to "be ready"???? The ONLY way this whole chapter makes sense is Jesus expecting and predicting his Second Coming in the First Century.
45 "Who therefore is the loyal and intelligent servant to whom his master has entrusted the control of his household to give them their rations at the appointed time?
Within Peter's Lifetime
"Who is the loyal and intelligent servant"??? Peter, that's who, as recorded earlier in this same book of Matthew, 16:18,19
… you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church... And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.
If the fulfillment of the Second Coming prophecy was not due until centuries after Peter's death, pray tell who is NOW the one the "master has entrusted the control of his household" of faith to???? Who is the one living today who's been appointed to "give them their rations at the appointed time"??? Who is NOW, Mr. & Mrs. Protestant, holding the keys??? You see what a tangled web you Bible thumpers have weaved, when at first you've practiced to deceive people about this chapter???
46 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes shall find so doing!
Within Peter's Lifetime
Jesus, in this story, tells of a departing master (i.e. Jesus) who puts a slave (i.e. Peter) in charge of the household until his return. In the story, the master returns within (not ten thousand years AFTER) the lifetime of the slave put in charge.
Jesus (as seen previously) put Peter in charge of the household of faith until Jesus should have returned. Therefore Jesus, like the master in the story, expected to be back within Peter's lifetime. If Jesus was NOT going to have returned within Peter's lifetime, Jesus would have made arrangements for NEW "slaves" to watch over his household until if and when he DID come back. To imply otherwise is to say that Jesus was a deadbeat dad, who just walked out on his family, abandoned them, without a second thought as to their welfare or who would be taking care of them.
The fact that Christianity, after the death of the Apostles, has been torn asunder time & again over the issue of "who's in charge here?" is proof that Jesus really was a deadbeat dad who orphaned his kids. Jesus neither returned when he promised his kids he would, nor did he clearly provide someone to watch over his kids in the meantime until he did return. (As for the knee-
47 In solemn truth I tell you that he will give him the management of all his wealth.
48 But if the man, being a bad servant, should say in his heart, `My master is a long time in coming,'
But It HAS Been A Long Time!!!
Jesus here condemns as a "bad servant" he who says Jesus' return has been "a long time in coming". Yet to say anything else in our era, is evidence of total and complete blindness to the passage of almost 2,000 (TWO THOUSAND!!!!!) years. The simple and undeniable fact is that his return HAS been "a long time in coming" and no amount of theological bullshit by Jesus or anyone else can change that FACT into a fiction. And every century that follows, Christians have to answer anew why their master has been a long time in coming. How many more centuries have to go by, before Christianity will admit the obvious? What's the limit? Will Christians admit that Jesus screwed up after ten thousand years? Ten million? Ten BILLION??? How about while the sun is going super nova and the whole universe is on its last legs of dying from heat death-
Even a New Testament writer-
Modern Christians, via 2,000 years of disappointments, have been forced into becoming "bad servants;" for the return of Jesus has indeed been "a long time in coming". They themselves stand condemned by their own god when they point out his "delay" in returning. But it's not their fault-
49 and should begin to beat his fellow servants, while he eats and drinks with drunkards;
50 the master of that servant will arrive on a day when he is not expecting him and at an hour of which he has not been informed;
51 he will treat him with the utmost severity and assign him a place among the hypocrites: there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
My Final Comments on
Some have suggested that there are two or three separate questions in verse #3 concerning future events, and therefore somehow because of this, the timing of these events may be thousands of years apart. To me, this seems like yet another attempt to "save the savior" from being the false prophet that he clearly has been documented to be.
Regardless of how many questions may have been originally asked by the Apostles at the beginning of the 24th chapter of Matthew, the man answering the questions was very explicit in that everything in this narrative would be fulfilled within a short time span, and certainly not to extend past the First Century THOUSANDS of years!!!
The following are clues that Jesus gave that indicate a short, rather than long, time span.
"Before long" the Apostles would hear of war rumors. (v. 6)
o “Before long” comes from the Greek word "mello" which means to be on the point of doing or suffering something, on the verge of, like a car teetering on the edge of a cliff.
" The early pains of childbirth " (v. 8)
o This is another phrase that indicates there is not much time left till all these things are supposed to take place. Pregnancy is, at most, a NINE month affair.
" Those who stand firm to the End" (v. 13)
o This indicates that "The End" will be something these Apostles can reasonably hope to "stand firm to" long enough to see, i.e., within their lifetime. One can't "stand firm" to an end millions or billions of years distant, such as "stand firm until the sun goes super-
" But immediately after those times of distress…" (v. 29)
o This phrase certainly doesn't grant much time between the end of one event, and the start of the next.
" Then will appear the Sign of the Son of Man…" (v. 30)
o This is the very next step past the "immediately" of the preceding verse. Again, no room for thousands of years of delays.
"So you also, when you see all these signs, you may be sure that He is near-
o Now Jesus is telling his First Century Apostles that when they've seen all the signs described, the Second Coming will be just around the corner-
"I tell you in solemn truth that the present generation will certainly not pass away without all these things having first taken place." (v. 34)
o As if I needed any more evidence to show that this entire scenario is locked up into a First Century time frame, along comes Jesus to drive the killing nail into the theory that any other era besides the First Century could be possible. Regardless of how many questions were asked by the Apostles, "ALL these things" in regard to the questions asked are predicted to take place before that present generation of then-
"But if the man, being a bad servant, should say in his heart, `My master is a long time in coming,'" (v. 48)
o This cinches the argument that whatever questions may have been asked regarding their future, the answers were all due within the First Century. The fulfillment of the predictions, according to Jesus, would not be "a long time in coming."
Jesus prophesied all of the following within the 24th chapter of Matthew}
The End of the World
The Gathering Up of the Saints
The Glorious "Second Coming"
Jesus specifically prophesied that all of the above events would take place before the end of the First Century, as indicated by his specifying the time limits being the lifetime of the people who heard him live back in 33 CE. These prophesied events did not take place in the time span laid down by Jesus himself. Therefore, the only logical and reasonable conclusion to be drawn is this: Regardless of anything else you may currently believe about Jesus, and regardless of how much you may currently love Jesus, nevertheless Jesus was as much a FALSE PROPHET as any other man who makes false prophecies about the future. To conclude anything else is to be self-