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Matthew 24 is not future...Lets look again.

I sometimes get the impression that my fellow believers read scriptures without keeping in mind that several styles or genre of language are found within the scriptures and scriptures must be compared with scriptures.  There is symbolism and apocalyptic language, metaphors, poetry, figures of speech, hyperbole...and literal language.

Matthew 24:29-31 reads-

[29]"But straightway after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her brightness, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken;

[30] And then will be displayed the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then will smite their breasts all the tribes of the earth; and they will see the sign of the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven, with great power and glory.

[31] And he will send forth His messengers (angels) with a great trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen, out of the four winds, from heavens bounds unto their bounds." 

Most read these three verses and think it is about the end of the world but it actually is not!!!  There are several things that indicate that another view is probably correct and it points to the fall of Jerusalem and it temple in 70 AD.

 First,  in verse 34 Yeshua tells us that the generation of the disciples would witness these thing.  The word generation in Greek is "genea" [Strongs # 1074] and does not mean race or type of people (genos). Yeshua was not speaking about a distant group of people thousands of years hence!!!  Secondly, one can find scriptures within the Old Testament that have the same sort of language.  Matthew 24:29 is apocalyptic language speaking of falling nations and is similar to Isaiah 13:10 (fall of Babylon), and Isaiah 34:4 (fall of Edom).  These are not about literal stars falling and such!

Likewise, we see OT texts similar to Matthew 24:30.  Look at Isaiah 19:1.  God did not literally stand on a cloud in human form but he did judge ancient Egypt!! Clouds are also often used as symbols of judgment.  God made a judgment presence!!  He did the same in 70 AD.

For verse 31 what we see is not heavenly angels but apostles and missionaries going out in every direction converting people with the preaching of the gospel and gathering them into the church!!!  This is in accord with the commission of Matthew 28.. We know that the Greek word for "angel" (Strongs #32) means "messenger" and this can be human apostles preaching the gospel message. It is interesting to note that in the King James Bible the words "they shall gather" is one Greek word related to the word Synagogue..a place of gathering or a congregation... Isaiah 27:13 reminds me somewhat of Matthew 24:31.

With the above stated I wish to point out that I don't favor full "preterism" where everything is finished in the past...even the second coming.  Full preterism is not a proper position.  I favor what is called "partial Preterism" because many things did happen in and around 70 AD, but some things are still left to happen.  Just as Yeshua left he will someday come again as we read in Acts 1.  



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