Yesterday at church we looked at Matthew 24.
It’s a full-on passage, leading into Jesus’ death and resurrection. There are varied opinions on some specifics, so I wanted to make a few notes. This is mainly to remind myself of some interpretive decisions I made. If it makes any sense to another, or even helps you read the passage, bonus!
I think that Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 bring into close association a few key teachings:
# The coming judgement of God against all wrongdoing. This theme touches the whole passage: stones thrown down, kingdoms in turmoil, fig tree, Noah’s time, etc
# The imminence of this judgement (see Matthew 23:36 and Matthew 24:34)
# That a sign of the judgement is Jerusalem’s destruction (Matthew 23:37-39; 24:1-2; 24:15ff). Note that this prophetic word, as in Jeremiah 26, results in a death sentence against the prophet
# That the judgement is at the same time as the arrival/enthronement of the Son of Man (see Daniel 7, especially verses 13 & 14). Daniel is mentioned by name in Matthew 24:15, and see verses such as Matthew 24:27
I think *all these* are fulfilled in Jesus’ cross and resurrection. Jesus’ death and resurrection life are: judgement, Jerusalem destroyed, Son of Man enthroned. That means we now live in the age marked by the cross and the empty tomb. In other words, Easter inaugurates the age we live in – not only by marking the chronological starting point, but by determining the present activity of God.
For me, then, Matthew 24 does not *predict* events, but it does *explain* events. For a concrete example, Matthew 24 does not predict the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem. But having happened, we understand this destruction, and the physical end of the temple.
Or, to put it differently, Matthew 24 is making a *theological* point about Easter and the Easter age, rather than making *historical* points about ‘what will happen next.’