A recent visitor to this site has posted an objection to my correlation between the Olivet Discourse, specifically Matthew 24:29f and Zechariah 14. We appreciate the interest, and, even though the poster disagrees, we do appreciate the thoughtful objection. I want to take note of the objection and offer some thoughts in response.
The Olivet Discourse: Do Verse 29-31 Apply to AD 70?
In my comments on the Olivet Discourse and Zechariah 14, I noted that both texts speak of the judgment of Jerusalem at the parousia. The objector seeks to deny this. An initial observation is that Zechariah 14 emphatically posits the coming of the Lord at that judgment ((14:1-5). There is no “gap” between the Day of the Lord in Zechariah and the destruction of Jerusalem.
Our “objector” has offered the following comments, however, seeking to divide the Olivet Discourse into a discussion of the fall of Jerusalem and a yet future parousia. Here are his comments:
<<Actually, as I see it, the argument still fails, on another caveat. Mt24:29 “eutheos de meta” should properly be translated “next but after”, not “immediately after…” The word comes from straight and implies a gap, as in Mt6:21, the boat ride was not ‘immediately’ reaching shore, but comparing the parallel accounts, they rowed. Also, 3 John 1:14 uses ‘eutheos’ and certainly does not mean ‘immediately’, nor is it translated that way. The word implies a gap. Second, v36 specifically excludes the vv29-31 events from the v34 genea. “These things will happen within a generation … but that day’s day and hour are unknown”. (v34&36). “that day” can only refer to the vv29-31 events, since the rest of the events are not single day-and-hour things, but general conditions leading up to the fall. So, while v36 certainly does refer to the same day and hour being unknown that Zech 14 does, it does not, therefore, follow that the olivet cannot be divided, because it can and should be.”
The Olivet Discourse and “Immediately After The Tribulation.”
The poster is guilty of making some seriously faulty linguistic claims. The word translated as “immediately” in verse 29 is eutheos. It is used 82 times in the NT. Contrary to what the objector says, it simply does not– let me repeat– it does not imply, suggest, or demand, a gap of any kind.
I have consulted as many translations as I can find, both in my library, and on the Internet. I cannot find one that does not render verse 29 as “Immediately.” Not one of them- not one– renders it as “next but after” or “sometime later” or anything comparable to that rendering. Not one of them translates eutheos in such as way as to indicate a temporal gap of any kind.
Of course, it is to be noted that the word eutheos does tell us when, that is, when afterward of something else, that an event took, or was to take place. So, you have the Tribulation, and then, “Immediately afterward” the parousia. The key thing, linguistically, is that eutheos is not a word that suggests, implies, or demands a gap of time. It is not a generic word to indicate, “at some point afterward, who knows when.” This is the word that is used most often of the healing activity of Jesus. He would speak the word of healing and “immediately” the sick would be healed! The idea of an indeterminate “gap” between Jesus speaking the healing word, and the healing is simply not to be found, and is unjustified. This suggests that the objector is guilty of eisegesis— reading something into the text that is not there.
Furthermore, I have been unable to find a Lexicon to support the claim that eutheos “implies a gap.” Arndt and Gingrich does not support this claim. Thayer does not support this claim. The new Analytical Lexicon of the New Testament Greek (2012) does not support this claim. Simply stated, there is no lexical support for the claim that eutheos implies or suggests a gap or delay.
Do translators sometimes get it wrong? Certainly! However, when the universal consensus of all Lexicons agrees on a definition, one must certainly have very, very powerful evidence to negate that Lexical evidence. When one must deny all lexical definitions and add something to them that not one of them suggests, this is tenuous at best. Preconceived theological ideas are not the proper basis on which to define words.
There is no linguistic justification for the “gap” view of eutheos, offered by the objector. This means that the parousia of Matthew 24:29f was to follow, well, “immediately” after the Great Tribulation. It would be organically linked to the Tribulation. In our next installment, we will look closer at the claims of the objector, so stay tuned!
See my book, We Shall Meet Him In The Air, The Wedding of the King of kings, for a careful analysis of the Olivet Discourse.
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