Matthew 24, Part One

BY PGF
3 months, 3 weeks ago

Part Two  Part Three  Part Four  Part Five  Part Six  Part Seven  Part Eight  Part Nine  Part Ten

If you start in verse 1 of Matthew 24 and simply read the text, it could mean anything without the proper context. The timeframe is also largely misunderstood. This is a problem of modern interpretation throughout Scripture and is rife with misunderstanding and outright abuse today in the American Church.

In posts to follow, if the Lord allows, we’ll look at several sections of Scripture in Matthew leading up to chapter 24. The whole context to the Matthew 24 prophecy by Jesus will be much more evident when we arrive at the text by understanding what leads up to it. You CAN understand Matthew 24!

In Matthew Chapter 3, John the Baptist relays God’s threat:

“7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” – Matthew 3:7-13

Matthew 3 starts by detailing the calling and ministry of John the Baptist. All Judaea and the surrounding cities were coming out to be baptized by Him.

Look at verse 7; it seems necessary to understand what generation John is speaking about? What wrath, and upon who is this wrath to come? It seems rather plain; he looks the Sanhedrin in the eye, calls them vipers, and by way of question warns them of the wrath of God to come. Is John the Baptist speaking to people he never met about a judgment of Holy God 2000 years later in America? This seems very unlikely. If you know that you’re supposed to repent of sin, then you should, and indeed America she has her sin, but who is supposed to repent in verse 8? Are we, 2000 years later, also supposed to not think of Abraham as our father? Well, we suppose so, but he’s speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees, who are Israel’s religious and civil leadership.

Note a conversation later in the life of Jesus that occurs in John 8 between Jesus and these rulers. Jesus explains how He always does what pleases His Father in heaven, and the Sanhedrin do precisely what John the Baptist warned them not to do. Jesus is speaking in verses 37 and 38:

“37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” – John 8:37-38

by claiming Abraham as their father the Sanhedrin have just fulfilled the warning and prophecy by God that John the Baptist spoke in Matthew 3 .

And also, in John 8, Jesus goes on to call the devil their father (this is a rather unpleasant conversation):

“44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” – Jesus speaking in John 8:44-45

So we must conclude that the wrath of God abides on them because that was the other half of the threat by God given through John the Baptist. Now read the entirety of what John the Baptist says in Matthew 3:7-13 again. (And read verse 14 with it as well. Whoever said the New Testament is bad literature surely doesn’t know who or what the book is about?)

Whether the prophecy in Matthew 3 shifts from that generation to some distant judgment, you decide. There’s more here we could cross-reference to other Scripture, but the point is founded. God has made His threat of judgment to come against that generation.

Also, compare Matthew 3:10 in our text to Matthew 7:15-20.


Comments

  1. On March 10, 2022 at 11:10 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Thank you PGF. And of course there are those among us (like me) who are preterists.

    We believe that Matt 24 and the bulk of Revelation have already been fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Anno Domini, not the stupid BCE and ACE like the pagans use).

  2. On March 11, 2022 at 9:04 am, PGF said:

    I think that a review of the increasingly vehement charges against that generation by our Lord, will show us that the only way to misunderstand Matthew 24 is by willful suspension of disbelief.

    Just as we can’t understand Revelation without a thorough study of God’s judgement language and modalities for carrying out His judgements, in Matthew 24 verse 1 we enter into the middle of a 3 year long ongoing narrative about coming judgement.

    Context is King.

  3. On March 12, 2022 at 9:42 am, blake said:

    Thank you again, PGF.

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