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A New Look at Matthew 24: The End Of The System of Things

    truthseeker posted Thu, 12 Jun 2003 18:50:00 GMT(6/12/2003)

    Post 15 of 2771
    Joined 3/1/2003

    I was reading Matthew 24 and for some reason alarm bells went off inside my head. I closely examined all the gospel accounts of 'the last days' and compared various scriptures from Daniel. This is what I found. This post is open to critisicm and I look forward to your comments.

    At Matthew 24:3 it says the following: (NWT)

    "While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: "tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things."

    The New American Standard Bible renders the transalation as follows..

    "And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately
    ,saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of
    Your Coming
    , and of the end of the age?"

    Notice in the American translation, the word 'Coming' is used as opposed to 'presence' in the NWT.

    To get a clear perspective about what it was the disciples were really asking, one must read the verses prior to Matthew 24.

    Matthew 23:37-39

    "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to
    her, - how often I wanted to gather your children togther, the way a hen gathers
    her chicks together under her wings! But you people did not want it. Look! Your
    house is abandoned to you. For I say to you, You will by no means see me from
    henceforth until you say, 'Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah's name!"

    This account here tells us that Jesus felt sad about what would happen to Jerusalem because of their rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. There house was indeed abandoned to them. But what would happen?

    Take a look at Matthew 24:1-2

    "Departing now, Jesus was on his way from the temple, but his disciples approached
    him to show him the buildings of the temple. In response he said to them: "Do YOU
    not behold all these things? Truly I say to YOU, By no means will a stone be left
    here upon a stone and not be thrown down."

    When JW's explain the 'last days' they rarely, if ever mention verses 1 and 2 of Matthew 24.
    But it is necessary to consider them if we really want to know what it was Jesus' disciples were asking.

    Let's take another look....

    "Departing now, Jesus was on his way from the temple, but his disciples approached

    him to show him the buildings of the temple. In response he said to them: "Do YOU

    not behold all these things? Truly I say to YOU, By no means will a stone be left

    here upon a stone and not be thrown down. While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives,

    the disciples approached him privately, saying: "tell us, when will these things be, and what

    will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things." - Matthew 24:1-3

    The disciples asked Jesus three questions after Jesus explained what would happen to Jersualem.

    1)When will these things be?

    2)What will be the sign of your presence?

    3)What will be the sign of the conclusion of the system of things?

    Question 1-When will these things be?

    Jesus had already just told them what would happen to Jerusalem after the disiples were amazed over the temple buildings and the size of the stones used:

    "In response he said to them: "Do YOU not behold all these things? Truly I

    say to YOU, By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not

    be thrown down." - Matthew 24:2

    Question 2-What will be the sign of your presence?

    This has always been a hard question. Is it 'coming' or 'presence' ? And does Jesus' presence begin in 1914, or does this passage of scripture refer to what will happen to Jerusalem instead?

    Take note of the following scriptures:

    Matthew 4:14

    "And in answer Jesus said to them: "Look out that nobody misleads YOU; for many
    will come on the basis of my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead
    many. You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not
    terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.

    For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will
    be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another
    .

    *** just as a side note, the American Bible renders verse 7 as this way...

    "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various
    places there will be famines and earthquakes
    ."

    before I continue, the American translation says that there would be earthquakes and famines in various places, not 'one place after another' as the NWT says. The NWT gives the impression of a chain recation, where one earthquake immediately begins after the previous one.

    anyway, I digress, Matthew 8:14 continues...

    "All these things are a beginning of the pangs of distress. Then people will
    deliver you up to tribulation and will kill YOU and will be objects of hatred
    by all the nations on account of my name. Then, also, many will be stumbled and
    will betray one another and will hate one another. And many false prophets will
    arrise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love
    of the greater number will cool off. But he that has endured to the end is the
    one that will be saved. And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in
    all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations and then the end will
    come."

    At this years district convention, the Drama is all about how Peter and John and the apostles were persecuted by the Sanhedrin for preaching about the name of Jesus. Stephen was also stoned to death.

    Matthew 8:13 could realistically only apply to the time period after Jesus died in 33 AD, not in the 21st century. Really, ask yourselves, how often do we see Christians persecuted for Jesus' sake being killed and delivered up to kings?

    verse 14 which we all know very well says the following...

    "And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached to all the inhabited earth
    for a witness to all the nations and then the end will come."

    The 'end' of what though? The world system of things or the Jewish system of things?

    Consider what the Insight on the Scriptures book (vol 1) says on pg 987 concerning the preaching work that Jesus told his disciples to do...

    "He also told them that their preaching would reach to "the most distant part
    of the earth."
    For about three and a half years afterward the holy spirit
    led the disicples to confine their preaching to Jews and Samaritans. Then Peter
    was sent by God to bring the good news to the household of the army officer
    Cornelius. From that time on, the good news was declared to the greatest possible
    extent over the widest area."

    Consider also the scripture at Colossians 1:23

    "provided of course, that YOU continue in the faith, established on the
    foundation and steadfast and not being shifted away from the hope of that
    good news which YOU heard, and which was preached in all creation that is
    under heaven.
    Of this good news, I Paul became a minister.

    was the good news preached in all the inhabited earth? It appears so. So, back to the question, what was the sign of Jesus' presence? The signs were all the things mentioned at Matthew 24:4-14

    Question 3 - When/What would be the sign of the conclusion of the system of things?

    Again, another angle on this. What was the conclusion of the system of things? We know that the 'conclusion of the system of things' was the end of the Jewish system of things. Whether it has a modern day parallel fulfillment remains to be seen, we can only wait.

    consider the warning Jesus gave his disciples and the digusting thing standing in a holy
    place. Both sets of scriptures will be placed side by side to give easier reference.

    Matthew 24:15-22 Daniel 9:26-27

    "Therefore when you catch sight of the "And after the sixty-two weeks

    disgusting thing that causes desolation Messiah will be cut off, with

    , as spoken of thorugh Daniel the nothing for himself.

    prophet, standing in a holy place, (let And the city and the holy place

    the reader use discernment,) then let the people of a leader that is

    those in Judea begin fleeing to the coming will bring to their ruin.

    mountains. Let the man on the housetop And the end of it will be by the

    not come down to take the goods out of flood. And until [the] end there

    his house; and let the man in the field will be war; what is decided upon

    not return to pick up his outer garment. is desolations.

    Woe to the pregnant women and to those And he must keep the covenant in

    suckling a baby in those days! Keep force for the many for one week

    praying that your flight may not occur ; and at the half of the week he

    in winter tim, nor, on the Sabbath day; will cause sacrifice and gift

    for then there will be a great offering to cease. "And upon the

    tribulation such as has not occured since wing of disgusting things there

    the worlds beginning until now, nor will will be one causing desolation

    occur again. In short, unless those days ; and until an extermination, the

    were cut short, no flesh would be saved; very thing decided upon will go

    but on account of the chosen ones those pouring out also upon the one

    days will be cut short." lying desolate.

    Was there a great tribulation? The Roman armies came in 70 AD and destroyed Jersualem. Over 1,000,000 people died. Reports were told of mothers eating their babies, a big famine and the whole city was set on fire. In 73 AD, the last Jewish outpost at Masada was also destroyed.

    Another warning regarding Jerusalem's destruction can be found at Luke 21:20,21

    "Furthermore, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, know that
    the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing
    to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those
    in the country places not enter into her."

    We often recall using 2nd Timothy 3:1-5 when talking to people about the 'last days'. Yet when did Paul actually write that letter to Timothy?

    Paul wrote that letter in 65AD. It could be said that the five year interval between 65 AD and 70 AD could constitute the last days of the Jewish system of things.

    to summarize

    The disciples wanted to know when the Jewish systems of things would be destroyed, what would be the sign Jesus would give to indicate this was so and what would replace the Jewish system of things.

    F shera posted Thu, 12 Jun 2003 19:25:00 GMT(6/12/2003)

    Post 1598 of 3298
    Joined 8/25/2002

    Thats good stuff,I agree.

    Emiliano posted Thu, 12 Jun 2003 23:27:00 GMT(6/12/2003)

    Post 126 of 127
    Joined 2/28/2001

    What about the other signs and things they wanted to know that imply a second application to the End of the System of things. For instnace, when was Jesus suppose to return or come? Was his second comming after the end of the Jewish system of things? Or are we still waiting for his second comming?

    M Undecided posted Thu, 12 Jun 2003 23:51:00 GMT(6/12/2003)

    Post 1125 of 3455
    Joined 3/16/2001

    It's seems to me if God wanted us to know what was to happen he would just say it in a way we could understand without all the confusion and interpretation of religious people and institutions. Notice the flip flops of the JWs. and other religious, saved, born again people. No one has the answers except YouKnow, Aguest, and the guy who woke up in a trash dumpster and became the second Christ and maybe Friday, Sword of Jah and a few other nuts.

    We can look at the bible all we want and make whatever we want out of it but things just keep going along like 2 Peter says, From the world's beginning, whenever that was. Why waste your time trying to figure out something that no one has been able to do, even with God's spirit if their claim has anymore foundation than their beliefs.

    Your'e going to live until you die and that's about all there is to it.

    Ken P.

    herk posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 02:01:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 416 of 808
    Joined 11/21/2002

    Deleted by poster

    herk posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 04:28:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 417 of 808
    Joined 11/21/2002

    Our ex-JW Bible class in Toronto simplified Matthew 24 with the following outline:

    M A Paduan posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 05:24:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 1097 of 3007
    Joined 6/10/2002

    Like a thief in the night - people don't even know until it's daytime.

    herk posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 12:33:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 420 of 808
    Joined 11/21/2002

    M funkyderek posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 13:38:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 1453 of 5039
    Joined 7/3/2001
    What about the other signs and things they wanted to know that imply a second application to the End of the System of things. For instnace, when was Jesus suppose to return or come? Was his second comming after the end of the Jewish system of things? Or are we still waiting for his second comming?

    The writer of Matthew clearly expect Jesus to return within his lifetime. (Interestingly, this was the start of a craze that's lasted 2000 years, but any day now...)

    herk posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 16:29:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 422 of 808
    Joined 11/21/2002
    What about the other signs and things they wanted to know that imply a second application to the End of the System of things[?]

    There is no "second application" such as the WTS teaches. Verses 15-26, 32-35, apply to the first century and to the centuries-long "tribulation" that has followed. Verses 27-31, 36-51, apply to Christ's return.

    M Oroborus21 posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 16:30:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 135 of 1318
    Joined 6/17/2002

    howdy,

    you wrote:

    Consider what the Insight on the Scriptures book (vol 1) says on pg 987 concerning the preaching work that Jesus told his disciples to do...

    "He also told them that their preaching would reach to "the most distant part
    of the earth."
    For about three and a half years afterward the holy spirit
    led the disicples to confine their preaching to Jews and Samaritans. Then Peter
    was sent by God to bring the good news to the household of the army officer
    Cornelius. From that time on, the good news was declared to the greatest possible
    extent over the widest area."

    Consider also the scripture at Colossians 1:23

    "provided of course, that YOU continue in the faith, established on the
    foundation and steadfast and not being shifted away from the hope of that
    good news which YOU heard, and which was preached in all creation that is
    under heaven.
    Of this good news, I Paul became a minister.

    was the good news preached in all the inhabited earth? It appears so. So, back to the question, what was the sign of Jesus' presence? The signs were all the things mentioned at Matthew 24:4-14

    -------

    The reference to the Good News being preached in "all the inhabited Earth," is really in truth limited to the author's "world", in this case the Jewish world. At this period in time, the Jews were concentrated in Jerusalem and the next largest Jewish community was in Bablylon (having remained and prospered there since the Babylonian Capitivity). Additionally, there were very large and significant Jewish populations as far away as lower Egypt and all around the Mediterranean, collectively this is known as the Diaspora or scattered ones. (By the way I am not including the deported Jews from Israel that were transplanted by the Persians to Turkey as they largely lost their Jewish identity, these ones are the so-called "Lost Tribes.")

    Giving the benefit of the doubt to the Apostles words, we can say that the Good News was preached to all of these lands and communities (perhaps as the result of Jerusalem pilgrims who converted to Christianity--think of the account of the Ethiopian Eunich and Peter).

    So in this sense the scriptures regarding the Good News being preached to ALL the inhabited Earth were fullfilled.

    HOWEVER, the fact is that by this time there were or had been sizable populations and thriving cultures in North and South America, Africa, Norther Europe, Asia, etc. etc.. These people did not have the Good News preached to them at this time.

    Thus the truth is that the above fullfillment is not a literal one but a figurative one applying only to the Jewish System.

    (By the way, in my belief, I feel strongly that the SAME understanding should be applied to the FLOOD of Noah, i.e. I believe that the "Flood" was a real event, and that it destroyed NOAH's World, but not the whole literal world...Note: understanding the Scriptures in this way does not detract from the import of the message of warning as the destruction of Noah's community and the local area was real.)

    Getting back to the topic, I agree with you that what is being discussed is the Jewish System of things.

    The Bible has always been a book about and for, primarilly God's chosen people, the Israelites. Christ and Jehovah God has opened the way for non-jews to gain the salvation and blessings that they as a nation have lost by rejecting Christ.

    But as far as Daniel and other Bible writers they were still principally concerned about the Jewish System. All scriptures should they have any first and secondary meaning must be understood first from the application upon the Jewish System and only secondly applied to the rest of the world.

    Similarly, I feel strongly that any teleological conclusions today must be premised upon seeing a fullfillment upon the same Jewish System, even today.

    Thus, for example if we look for a modern fulfillment of the scripture regarding the proclamation of "Peace and Security" (1 Thes 5:3), this should come principally upon the Jewish state--represented today by the modern nation of Israel (and the surrounding historically Jewish area).

    Should the political efforts of all involved ever bring real peace and security to the Middle East, then all persons should be in eager expectation because indeed Armageddon may be near.

    --Eduardo

    herk posted Fri, 13 Jun 2003 16:37:00 GMT(6/13/2003)

    Post 423 of 808
    Joined 11/21/2002

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