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Matthew 24-25| Does The Olivet Discourse Predict Two Events? #5


olivet discourse
Did Jesus predict two different comings in the Olivet Discourse?

The Olivet Discourse: Two Comings or One?

This is installment #5 in our examination of the so-called contrasts between the first section of Matthew 24 (v. 4-34) and the so-called second section (v. 35-chapter 25. The second section supposedly foretells the end of time and a literal, visible, bodily coming of Jesus I have compiled the list of contrasts from a variety of sources over the years.  Please see the previous articles for reference purposes. # 1   #2   #3   #4

One of the contrasts that supposedly sets off Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem from his “real” coming is a variation of the Local versus universal argument.

Matthew 24– Two Comings? One “IN THE CLOSET”  -VS- IN THE CLOUDS

Another so called contrast is offered, claiming that in regard to A.D. 70 men could claim that Jesus was “in the desert” or “in the closet” (Matthew. 24:24-27). However, of his future coming it is claimed that, “in this his whereabouts will be known to all persons.” This argument is a corollary to the “local versus universal” argument examined in the first of this series. Sadly, we are once again confronted with the fact that Biblical language is being either ignored or denied.

Interestingly, one Amillennial writer takes note of how horrible the Great Tribulation would be, “this would be a time of great suffering; in fact, had those days not been shortened…, no one’s life (no flesh) would have been spared.” (Curtis Cates, The A.D. 70 Theology, (Olive Branch, MS. Cates Publishing, 1995)25– This book is one of the most shallow attempts to refute Covenant Eschatology imaginable. It is truly a sad testimony to how desperate men can become). The question of “local versus universal” is certainly apropos at this juncture!

This same writer applies Matthew 24:30 to the A.D. 70 coming of the Lord; “When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, certainly those connected to the Jewish economy [Jews and `God fearers’ {proselytes} would mourn (vs. 30).” (Ibid, 27).

What is so interesting is that many, many commentators agree that Matthew 24:29f refers to AD 70. Yet, they then claim that Revelation 1:7 refers to a literal, future, bodily coming of Christ at the so-called end of time. Please note the comparison between the two texts.
Matthew 24:29f                                                                  Revelation 1:7
Coming of the Lord, [coming from erchomai] —  Coming of the Lord, (coming from erchomai)
Coming on the clouds — Coming on the clouds
All tribes [Greek phule] of the earth, [Greek ge] — All tribes [Greek phule] of the earth, (Greek ge)
All tribes mourn — All tribes mourn
This generation (v. 34) — Behold, I come quickly (22:12).

How much more perfectly must language agree before men bow to the authority of scripture? Both texts use the identical Greek words, the identical thoughts, the identical time reference. Is it intellectually honest to apply Matthew 24 to the fall of Jerusalem and then insist Revelation is a different kind of coming at the end of time? See my book, Who Is This Babylon? for an extensive discussion of Revelation 1:7 and how does not predict an event different from Matthew 24:29f.

Who is This Babylon
This book demonstrates that the Olivet Discourse and Revelation foretold the same event–and it is not the end of time!


Matthew 24: Which One Is The Real One?

As we have seen, Amillennial and Postmillennialists commonly insist that Matthew 24:29f was “local”; Revelation is universal. The clouds in Matthew are not real clouds; in Revelation they are. In Matthew “all the tribes of the earth” is purely local and almost insignificant; in Revelation “all the tribes of the earth” means every person who has ever lived on earth! Matthew 24:30 is spiritual; Revelation is literal! What a strange thing! A book that tells us at the outset that it is a book of symbols, images and spiritual things and yet it is insisted that the central theme–the Parousia–is literal. Such arbitrary and capricious claims do no honor to Biblical interpretation.

It should be noted that a growing number of both Amillennialists and Postmillennialists are now agreeing that Revelation 1:7 anticipated Christ’s coming in AD 70. This is an important development that should be noted.
Jesus’ point in Matthew 24:23-31 is that his coming would not be an isolated event. It would not be what futurists say it would be, i.e. a local event.

Jesus’ allusion to when men would say “he is in the desert” or the “closet” did not mean the fall of Jerusalem would be local. This very clearly is not what Jesus was saying. He said his coming would be on the clouds, with power, and great glory and all the tribes of the earth would mourn. Does that not sound like the Lord’s A. D. 70 coming would qualify as a contrast to “in the closet” or “in the desert”?

Consider the fact that in Acts 26:26, as Paul defended himself, he told the story of Jesus’ passion, and said “this thing was not done in a corner.” Now, the death of Jesus, on a purely physical perspective, was far, far “smaller” and local than destruction of Jerusalem. Yet Paul said it was not a private, local, “in a corner” event!

So, if Paul could consider the Passion as a major event, “not done in a corner,” then do we not have a right to see that the coming of Christ, on the clouds of heaven, with the angelic shout and the sound of the trumpet– all of which is assigned to AD 70 by the Amillennialists and Postmillennialists– was likewise not done in a corner. It was not “in the desert” or “in a closet”. It was visible to all!

So, when the Amillennialists and Postmillennialists admit Matthew 24:29-31 refers exclusively to the A.D. 70 coming of the Lord they are tacitly admitting that it was not a private, local, “in a corner event.” Since versus 29-31 refer– by their own admission– to a “universally apparent” coming of Christ then a suggested contrast between an “in the closet” or “in the desert” versus a widely visible event is lacking in substance and validity. The Olivet Discourse cannot be divided into two subjects.