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 Matthew 24, Literally Speaking

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TomL
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PostSubject: Matthew 24, Literally Speaking   Sun May 13, 2012 8:44 am

I don't see how someone can say they take the Bible literally, and still claim that any part of prophecy is still future.

Matthew 24 is a chapter that many who believe that there is still prophecy to be fulfilled go to for proof. I submit if Matthew 24 is taken literally, there is no way you can conclude that any end time prophecy has not been fulfilled in the lifetime of the disciples.

First, we must understand the context of the remarks of Jesus in Matthew 24. Jesus had just been in the temple in Jerusalem condemning the scribes and the Pharisees, for all their wickedness down through the years. And at the end of this diatribe, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation." - 23:36. Now, when Jesus said, "I say to you," who was Jesus literally speaking to? And when he said, "this generation," do you suppose he was literally referring to some far off distant generation? He just got finished condemning them for all their wickedness, and then He says, their punishment wouldn't occur till some far off generation. Yeah right. 23:37 established that they were in fact in Jerusalem. And that is where Matthew 24 begins.

Matthew 24 starts with Jesus and the disciples leaving the temple. Jesus showed them the temple, and told them it would be destroyed. They asked this question, "when will these things be ? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" Literally speaking, what were the disciples asking? "When will these things be?" What things? In the literal context, they were referring to all that Jesus said in Matthew 23, and what he just said about the literal destruction of the temple. So, it would be good for you to read Matthew 23 to understand the disciples' questions. In the next part of the disciples' inquiry we can literally conclude that there is a correlation of the coming of Christ and the end of the age.

Now we come to how Jesus answered the disciples' questions. The first part of his answer is, "Take heed that no man deceive you." Deceive who? Who was Jesus literally speaking to? So the word "you" literally refers to the disciples. And that is true throughout Matthew 24.

Verse 6, "And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you not be troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Who will hear of wars and rumors of wars? Who should not be troubled? Again, who was Jesus literally speaking to?

Verse 9, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." Again, who was Jesus literally speaking to?

In verse 13, Jesus literally indicates that one of the disciples would endure to the end. In verse 15, Jesus literally states that the disciples would see "the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet..."

So, literally speaking, Jesus was speaking to the disciples, and not anyone 1900+ years in the future.

Now let's look at another literal statement made by Jesus in Matthew 24.

Verse 16, "Then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains." Literally speaking, Jesus here localizes the events of Matthew 23 & 24. Really, Matthew 23 & 24 go hand in glove. In Matthew 23, Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that judgment is coming. And in Matthew 24, Jesus answered the disciples' questions including, when. And the when is in the lifetime of at least one of them.

I see no other conclusion possible if you take Matthew 24 literally.

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