A Few Thoughts From: Matthew 24
The reading of this chapter brings images to the head that are utterly fantastic. Will it actually be the case that not even two stones will be on top of another when the destruction described by Jesus occurs? What are we to understand in these words? In 24:14 we read that there is a certain point when the end will come. What end? To properly understand the chapter, let us take note of the questions the disciples asked: 1) Tell us when these things will be, 2) What will be the sign of your coming, and 3) the end of that age. It’s possible that numbers 2 and 3 could be combined into one question, but I am not inclined to think that is accurate. In Mark (13:4), there are only two questions: 1) Tell us when…, 2) What will be the sign when these things are fulfilled (also in Luke 21:7). It’s in Matthew that we read this 3rd question concerning the end of the age (the ASV uses “world,” as does the KJV, CEV, and Hugo McCord (or FHV)). To answer the question we asked (based on 24:14) let us consider that 24:21-22 gives us a “termination” of sorts. In other words, the days will be shortened (or, they will come to completion), and there will be days following that are not associated with a tribulation that Jesus speaks about (24:29) – though there are signs that are significant (24:29-31). You couple all this with the Lord’s word in 24:34 and we learn the “termination” point of the first two questions. The word generation has posed some interpretive difficulties for exegetes. Did Jesus refer to the Jewish nation, or did He refer to the people to whom He spoke? When He said this generation, it seems He limited it to the latter (the context determines this). Those who think it refers to the former generally follow the dispensational/premillennial view. Those who heard Jesus’ words understood well what He meant. The third question the disciples asked is answered in 24:36-44.