Why did Christ in Matt. 24: 36 use a phrase that often indicates a change of subject, a phrase that was used in 22: 31 (and other places) to emphasize a change in subject matter? Is he now referring to the disciples second question – answering to his Coming Again at the end of the age when he would judge the world? (Matt. 24:3).
— Very short– “peri de” (commonly translated as “but”) does NOT demand a contrast or change. It literally means “now concerning” or something similar. Dr. Dallas Burdette
has written on this and studied the term extensively, concluding that there is no suggestion for seeing a contrast of subjects in the text.
2. Why did Christ shift from the plural ‘those days’ (Matt. 24: 19, 22, 29) to the singular ‘that day and hour’ (24: 42, 44, 50)?
Response: Because in the earlier verses he was speaking about the “days” (literally months) leading up to the climactic Day. Just as there are “days” leading up to the day, of, say, Christmas, there were days leading up to the climactic day of the destruction.
3. Why are there signs of public display indicating those events which precede vs. 36, making those events predictable (24: 15, 34) but the timing of the latter event is unknown and unknowable? All that precedes vs. 36 is predictable based on signs. There are no prior warnings to the latter event. Why is this if there is no division of subject here?
Response: The signs indicated when the Day was nigh (24:32) but did not inform as to the specific day and hour. Since the Lord had already listed the signs in v. 1-34, there was no need to mention anymore signs. All he had to do was to warn them to “watch.” What were they to “watch” for, if there was nothing to “watch for”?
4. The coming of Christ in judgment against apostate Judaism (A.D. 70) clearly reflects the visions of the prophet Daniel (Dan. 7: 13-14) but the verses following vs. 36 look forward to Christ’s future coming and do not reflect any elements from Daniel’s vision. Why? Could this indicate that the first portion of Matthew 24 (1-35) is concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the latter portion (36-51) is referencing Christ’s coming to judge the world?
Response: This is presupposition — petitio principii. It takes a yet future coming for granted, without proving it. The coming of the Son of Man in 25:31 reflect Daniel 7 every bit as much as 24:30f.
5. Why do the earlier verses contain temporal indicators but the latter verses do not?
Response: How many times did the Lord have to give temporal indicators before readers / listeners, and YOU, my friend, will believe? Is there a rule that suggests that if time indicators are given at the outset of a discourse, that they have to be repeated every few verses? Of course not. That is an artificial and contrived objection.
6. Doesn’t Matthew 24: 34 serve as a concluding statement to his previous address – so what follows is a natural break in subject matter?
Response: Assumption with no proof. What journalistic rule demands such an argument? Verse 34 serves as a lynch pin for the entire discussion. In my YouTube series on the Discourse, over the last several videos, I have been demonstrating that the entirety of chapter 25 applied to AD 70? Try watching the last five or six especially.
7. Why do temporal time indicators such as ‘then’ and ‘immediately after’ show up prior to vs. 35 and not after? Could this indicate that verses 36-50 are not part of the previous historical sequential events?
Response: Same as just above. The nature of the paraenisis in the later verses simply did not need that kind of statement since in the earlier verses Jesus was giving the sequence of the signs. Thus, “when,” “then,” “immediately.” This objection simply fails to honor the literary differences between the two “sections.”
8. If verses 36 is referencing the coming of Christ against apostate Judaism in A.D. 70 and the end of the Jewish state (which would occur 37-40 years hence) – did he not know when this would be?
Response: He knew the generation — he did not know the day or hour. But, notice that in Revelation, the Father, (who knew the day and the hour) revealed to the Son, to the John and the churches that “the hour (Greek hora= hour) of her (Babylon’s) judgment has come” (14:6f) and thus, Jesus could say, “Behold, I come quickly!”
Foy E. Wallace Jr. (past prominent Church of Christ preacher), a firm believer in the transitional nature of Matthew 24 said: “The vouchsafement of the word of Christ is the surety of the fulfillment of “all these things” in the period that he designated as “this generation”. His words are the seal. And upon the integrity of his word another stupendous fact is predicated: that is, heaven and earth shall pass away. The “shall” and “shall not” are equally significant: his word concerning the signs and events is as sure as the fact that heaven and earth ‘shall’ pass away. And it is here that the transition in the subject context of Matthew 24 takes place, from the destruction of Jerusalem to the Second Advent of Christ.”
Christ’s richest blessings! RMJ
Response: Wallace was great on many things, including Revelation, taking the early date and application to AD 70, But, he did not live long enough to follow through with his studies and to realize his own inconsistencies. He failed to see that the temple itself was called “heaven and earth” and thus, verse 35 is in an organic unity with what goes before, including v. 34.
With respect, my friend, your entire list of “objections” carry no probative force or value.