Responding to the Critics: What About Matthew 10:22-23- #3

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Responding to the Critics: What About Matthew 10:22-23 – #3

Be sure to read installment # 1 and #2 in order to get the background and context for this discussion / debate between Mr. Sam Frost, former preterist, and myself, on Matthew 10:122-23.

Don K. Preston’s “answer” is an absolute DODGE to the question.

So, Don’s “answer” is that “when they are persecuted” going from “city to city”, then the Son of man will come.

Now, Don, if someone STARTS something, they FINISH it, correct? When did they START going through the cities of Israel? “Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not” (10.5). Notice that. Do not go to Samaria. Do not go to the nations. Go to “the house of Israel” (10.6).

Now, when they went (began) “going” through “cities” (10.11), what did they preach (proclaim – same word as in “the gospel has been proclaimed to every creature”)? “The kingdom of God is nigh” (10.7). And, what did they do? They were given “power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities” (10.1). The Spirit of power.

Now, “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” – see that Don? CITIES OF ISRAEL.

Now, real simple: WHEN did they FINISH going through the CITIES of ISRAEL?

Neither Don nor Robert has answered this.

Don wants it to mean, “you will not have finished being perscuted (sic) from city to city until the son of man comes” – and that’s just not what it says. Holger Neubauer tried the same answer…..does not work

Now, it is plain that the “persecution” of those Jesus is talking to (audience relevance, Don) began where? JERUSALEM. That’s a city they did not “go” to yet in Matthew 10, preaching the Gospel of the Good News, and healing with POWER. That started in Acts 2. Persecution started in Acts 7-8 (actually before, because they were jailed already in Acts 3-4). “Then came Philip into the citie of Samaria, and preached Christ vnto them” (Acts 8.5). Samaria….a CITY that was forbidden in Matthew 10. “”Rise and go toward the south(1 )to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.” Philip was on the move. “But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea” – “going through the cities of Israel” he did NOT go through in Matthew 10…….
Thus, the grammatical structure is quite simple: “finish the cities of Israel” (Subjunctive, emphatic negative, 2nd Aorist) “until” (plain, conditional particles eos an), completed by “comes” (2nd Aorist). Beginning point * start going through cities of Israel – Finish going through cities of Israel (end point). This is interrupted by a “coming” of the son of man (UNTIL). You will not COMPLETE going through the cities of ISRAEL UNTIL the son of man comes. Or, “before you finish going through the cities of Israel the son of man will come”. Perfectly legitimate translation based on all the grammars and thirty years of Greek. That’s why this passage is such a tough passage. In fact, D.A. Carson, a scholar of scholars (particularly noted for his work in Matthew) stated that Mat 10.23 is “the most difficult” of passage in the NT!

Now, why is that? It is ordinary, first year Greek (Aorist Subjunctive with an “until” conditional is first year Greek stuff). It says what it says.

I’ll give you an example from Matthew: “you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.” “You will not get out” (Subjunctive, Aorist) UNTIL (eos an) “you have paid” (Subjunctive Aorist). Pay, then get out. The action of the verb in the second clause precedes the action of the first clause. “Pay” then “get out”.

“you will not finish (Aor Subjunctive) going through the cities of Israel until (eos an) the son of man comes (Aor Subj). The son of man comes, then you will finish going through the cities….

That’s the Greek.

See, the Greek is not the problem….the problem for many is positing HOW the son of man “comes” BEFORE they “finish” going through the cities of Israel. If one views this as the Second Coming…well, PROBLEMS arise! Galore! If one views this as 70 AD, PROBLEMS arise. Galore! Is there another lesser known solution? Yup.

(Refresher note: Sam Frost believes that Jesus’ promise of his coming in Matthew 10:23 (what he refers to here as a “lesser known solution”) is referent to Jesus’ Ascension in Acts 1, in fulfillment, per Frost, of Daniel 7:13f. This is indeed a “lessor known solution” to say the least! And it is an untenable suggestion, but, keep it in mind as I continue sharing our exchange, because it is a critical point).

I responded to Frost’s comments above on 10-29-19

As I kept reading Frost’s comments on Matthew 10, I kept thinking, “Surely Sam is not trying to say that Jesus’ discussion of the persecution was speaking of the limited commission.” unfortunately, it has become more than apparent that Frost is trying to pull a fast one on the unsuspecting readers– as he commonly does.

He conveniently fails to take note of how Matthew 10 is not confined to the “limited commission.” But, as a host of scholars have noted, Matthew 10:1-14 is focused on the very limited commission– “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, or Samaritans…”

But, in verse 15ff, Jesus, (and Matthew): “looks beyond the immediate mission on which the Twelve were to be engaged to a time when Christian preachers would be brought before hostile tribunals and undergo severe persecution. Whereas in the earlier section the preachers could expect a fairly friendly reception (they would receive hospitality in homes in each place to which they went), now there is the thought of bitter hostility.” (Pillar Commentary). See also R. T. France, in loc).

Now, the fact is that so far as the record shows, the disciples did not experience persecution at all in the limited commission of Matthew 10:1-14– NONE

Verses 16f deal with the very real threat of persecution– being brought before the Sanhedrins for instance, and being brought before the Sanhedrins was a reality after Pentecost (Mark 13:9f).
There are numerous hints in v. 16f that Jesus had expanded his perspective to the Gentile mission– and was no longer focused on the Limited Commission which, once again, we have no record of persecution on that Mission.

V. 16– Persecution before Sanhedrins and in the synagogues– compare Matthew 24:9f / Mark 13:9f– which happened after the outpouring of the Spirit, when the disciples were to take the Gospel to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.”

V. 18– You will be brought before governors and kings, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. So, in v. 5-6- the disciples were forbidden to witness to the Gentiles, but now, in v. 16f they are to witness to the Gentiles! Was Jesus confused, or contradicting himself? Clearly not; he had expanded his discussion beyond the Limited Commission.

He had expanded his discussion from “to Israel only” to the mission to the Gentiles. He had expanded the scope of discussion from a time of no persecution to a time of persecution.
As France says:

The mention of governors and kings suggests a wider canvas than the purely Israelite mission of vv. 5–6, 23. The Roman prefects of Judea (the same word for ‘governor’ is used in 27:2, 11, 14) and ‘king’ Herod of Galilee with his later successors as kings of the Jews would fit the description, and there were Gentiles in Palestine, but the specific mention of the Gentiles suggests that the wider mission of the post-resurrection period is already in view. (France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 1, p. 186). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).

V. 19-20– When they deliver you, give no thought to what you will say, “the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” – directly parallel with Mark 13:9f– “give no thought to what you will say in that hour, for it will be given you”– which was post-Pentecost. It is a context of persecution– which did not occur in the Limited Commission.

V. 21– You will be hated of all for my name sake– directly parallel and fulfilled in Mark 13:13.

V. 22- When they persecute you, flee to another– PERSECUTION AND FLIGHT are the key here– being ignored / denied by Mr. Frost, because he knows that if there was no persecution on the Limited Commission then his claims melt before his very eyes. Interesting that Mr. Frost says that “Preston wants this to say such and such.” No, Mr. Frost, I am simply honoring what the inspired text says.

V. 23– As they want preaching– witnessing to the Gentiles, which cannot be the Limited Commission– they would be persecuted and they would flee (See Matthew 23:34- after the Limited Commission, Jesus said that the Jews would persecuted his apostles (which did not happen on the Limited Commission!!!):

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city.

Notice the “persecution and flight” motif here, which is the motif of 10:22-23.

So, Mr. Frost’s Greek analysis is actually very helpful here, and fully supportive of what I have just written! The problem is that Mr. Frost is anachronistically applying the Greek of the text to the Limited Commission– where it did not and does not apply. That analysis belongs to the time after the outpouring of the Spirit and to the Great Commission when the disciples did go to Samaria and to the Gentiles. They did go and preach the Gospel into and to all the world– just as Jesus said. And when they went, they were persecuted, before the Sanhedrins and synagogues– Just as Matthew 10:16f said, but, which did not happen on the Limited Commission!

So, Mr. Frost conveniently overlooks– no, he ignores– the fact that scholarship has and does recognize that in Matthew 10:16f, Jesus expanded his discussion from the Limited Commission to the Great Commission. This makes perfect sense of his comments in v. 16f, and the motif of preaching, persecution and flight.

Mr. Frost once knew this, but has decided to abandon these truths.

Stay tuned as we continue Responding to the Critics- exposing the desperation of Sam Frost.