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Matthew 24 - IVP New Testament Commentaries

Jesus' Return

Compare Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28. Immediately ties the tribulation of those days to the unidentified final tribulation, a tribulation that, on our reading, can be clearly identified as the final one only by the fact that the parousia (Jesus' return) concludes it. Like the day of the Lord in the Old Testament (Amos 5:18-20), Jesus' return is not good news for everyone.The Effects of Jesus' Revelation Will Be Cosmic (24:29) End-time events explicitly reported in the Bible include no secretive coming as in some popular current eschatology (pace Strombeck 1982:151-53); as Leon Morris notes of the only return of Christ of which Scripture speaks, "It is difficult to see how he could more plainly describe something that is open and public" (1959:145).The Nations Will Respond with Terror (24:30) The nations have good reason to fear. When applied to a king or other prominent dignitary, the term for Jesus' coming (parousia) was a quasi-technical expression that implied considerable demands for preparation on the part of the local populace (Ladd 1967:92). That the Son of Man has authority to dispatch his angels to gather his elect (v. 31; Mk 13:27) portrays Jesus as divine (Meier 1980:288). As in Mark 13:26, the language of the Son of Man coming with the clouds alludes to Daniel 7:13, but Matthew includes an additional allusion to Zechariah 12:10, in which the nations mourn.

The Church Will Ultimately Be Delivered (24:31) Paul likewise observes that deliverance from tribulation in this age arrives when Jesus comes as King and judges the wicked (2 Thess 1:6-7). From one end of the heavens to the other means the whole earth (Mk 13:27; compare Is 11:12; 1 Enoch 57:2).

The figure of the trumpet is appropriate, and is one feature noted by Matthew but missing in Mark, yet earlier cited also by Paul (1 Thess 4:17). Paul refers to the "last trumpet" at the resurrection of the righteous (1 Cor 15:52), when the final enemy, death, is subdued (1 Cor 15:24-26). Most often trumpets assembled God's people for war or alerted them to an attack (as in Num 10:9; Judg 3:27; Is 18:3; Jer 4:19; Ezek 33:3-6; Joel 2:1; Zeph 1:16); such a trumpet blast often came with a shout (Jos. War 3.265; 1 Thess 4:16) and could symbolize the final battle (compare 1QM 8.9-12).

Parables of the Future Kingdom (24:32--25:46)

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