October 28, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Tuesday after the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 25, 2 Kings 21:1-18, Titus 2
Evening – Psalm 29, Dt. 4:15-24, Mt. 24:29-41

Commentary, Matthew 24:29-41

Before we attempt to discern the meaning of these verses let us remind ourselves of two landmark verses within it.  First is verse 29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days.”  Second is verse 34, “this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”  From these verses we learn two things.  First, whatever our Lord is speaking about in these verses will happen immediately after the tribulation He has just described in 24:1-28. If verses 1-28 describe the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the events of tonight’s reading follow immediately after.  Second, the generation of the Apostles will not pass, will not die, until all these things be fulfilled.  This means the darkening of the sun and moon, stars falling from heaven, and the Lord’s coming in the clouds happens before the Apostles’ generation dies.

Obviously, then, these events are not about the Second Coming.  Remember, the Apostles didn’t even know there will be a Second Coming.  What, then is described in these verses, especially in verses 29-30?  Fortunately, the Bible sheds some light on its own symbolism here.  Isaiah 19:1 describes the Lord coming to Egypt riding “upon a swift cloud.”  Revelation 1:7, refers to Christ, saying, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him.”  Isaiah refers God coming in judgment upon Egypt.  Revelation 1:7 refers to Christ coming in judgment to Israel and Rome.  So, the events of Mt. 24:29-30 must refer to the same events.

Verse 31 refers to the advance of the Gospel in the world.  Christ coming in the clouds may also have some application to this, since the Gospel judges people by marking them as those who belong to Christ through faith, and those who do not.  Certainly the angels gathering God’s elect from the earth is accomplished through the preaching of the Gospel.

The time of the Roman’s advance on Jerusalem is not known (vs. 36), and it will catch most people unaware as the Flood did in the days of Noah (Noe).  Two in the field (24:40) refers to one taken in the battle and one escaping, as does the two women of verse 41.   The ones who escape are the ones who heed the Lord’s warning to leave Jerusalem as the Roman army approaches.

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