PDA

View Full Version : Discussion The Coming of the Son of Man: A Partial Preterist & Futurist Party



Matthehitmanhart
Nov 16th 2008, 11:01 PM
I want to specifically focus on three passages outside of the Olivet Discourse:

"When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." (Matt 10:23)

"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."(Matt 16:27-28)

"Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matt 26:64)

What do you believe Jesus is referring to in these three passages and what reasons do you have (from the text, preferably) for holding such a belief?

Matthehitmanhart
Nov 16th 2008, 11:38 PM
So, to start us off in Matthew 10:23, my hunch is that Jesus is speaking metaphorically here of his "coming" in judgment upon the cities of Israel as the result of their refusal to respond to the gospel. Such a reading makes sense in context to all the surrounding talk of his disciples being persecuted from city to city and of his "bring a sword" to the land (vv. 16-23a, 34-39).

Going back to Daniel 7, the passage to which Jesus is alluding, we notice that the whole theme there is about the vindication of God's people, the saints of the most high, over against their oppressors, the four monstrous empires that arise out of the sea. The son of man comes up (not down) on the clouds into the presence of the Ancient of Days and into a court scene with books laid open for judgment, and the Ancient of Days then makes a judgment in favor of the saints, taking the kingdom away from their oppressors and handing it over to their king, the enigmatic son of man figure.

Considering especially (a) the way this passage would have been taken in Jesus' day, and (b) the way Jesus redefined what it meant to be the people of God and established a kingdom movement around his own person, it would make perfect sense for him to use Daniel 7 as a polemic against the leadership of Israel, rhetorically placing [I]them in the position of the fourth beast while conversely speaking of the vindication of his followers, the renewed and reconstituted Israel.

Romulus
Nov 17th 2008, 08:13 PM
Hi Matthehitmanhart,

I for one believe exactly what Jesus said from the plain reading of all three texts:

"When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." (Matt 10:23)

Jesus is plainly stating that the disciples will not have evangelized all the cities of Israel before He comes.

"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."(Matt 16:27-28)

Jesus is plainly stating that some who were standing there would not taste death before they see Christ coming in His kingdom. This was the case. Most of the disciples were martyred except John when Jesus judged Israel in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. John was not the only one Jesus had in mind but others outside of the 12 that had gathered with him when He spoke the scripture.

"Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matt 26:64)

We must take into account who the audience is here. It is the Sanhedrin he is speaking to. Not the 21st century. Jesus is stating to the Jewish leaders that they would witness His coming on the clouds of heaven. Cloud coming is a reference to the Old Testament books such as Isaiah and Psalms that spoke the same language of God's judgement. This was not a literal cloud coming just as the cloud comings in Isaiah were not literal against Babylon, Edom, and Nineveh who were judged by God and no longer exist. They were destroyed just as prophecied with no literal celestial events such as cloud comings, sun not shining, and moon turning red did not happen (see Isaiah's prophecies against these nations for the same language.)

I believe the above scriptures were for the 1st century. They were spoken to the 1st century, not the 21st century(or beyond.) I believe Jesus meant what He said just as the following:

Matthew 24

This generation will not pass away until all these things have happened.

Luke 21

This generation will not pass away until all these things have happened.

Revelation 1

The Revelation of Jesus Christ given to His servant John of the things that are shortly to happen. Blessed is he who reads the words of this book and does what it says, because the time is near.

Just my thoughts. God Bless! :)

moonglow
Nov 17th 2008, 09:39 PM
I want to specifically focus on three passages outside of the Olivet Discourse:

"When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." (Matt 10:23)

"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."(Matt 16:27-28)

"Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matt 26:64)

What do you believe Jesus is referring to in these three passages and what reasons do you have (from the text, preferably) for holding such a belief?

I am partial preterist just so you know...I like alot of what Adam Clark has to say on some of this...though I don't think he has the same end time views that I do. He is good for referring to historical information along with other scriptures too in explaining the meaning on some of these.

On the Matthew 10:23

Adam Clark bible commentary:

Ye shall not have gone over (http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=010) (ended or finished, margin) the cities, implying to go over or through, intimating that there should not be time for the disciples to travel over the cities of Judea before the destruction predicted by Christ should take place. But this is very far from being the truth, as there were not less than forty years after this was spoken, before Jerusalem was destroyed

Matthew 16

Verse 27. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father (http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=016)
This seems to refer to Daniel 7:13,14. "Behold, one like the Son of man came-to the ancient of Days-and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages should serve him." This was the glorious Mediatorial kingdom which Jesus Christ was now about to set up, by the destruction of the Jewish nation and polity, and the diffusion of his Gospel through the whole world. If the words be taken in this sense, the angels or messengers may signify the apostles and their successors in the sacred ministry, preaching the Gospel in the power of the Holy Ghost. It is very likely that the words do not apply to the final judgment, to which they are generally referred; but to the wonderful display of God's grace and power after the day of pentecost.

Oh on this last one...I have an article for it that I think answers it beautifully...:)

"Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matt 26:64)

This is kind of long but well worth the read...the Matt 26 verse is addressed at the end of it..I'll bold that part in case you don't want to read all of this:

http://blog.absolutetruth.us

Let me start by saying the reason why the church has missed the meaning of so many verses is because of the lack up understanding the (language, culture, politics and historical setting in which the Bible was originally written. The first thing we MUST do is study to see what the language meant to them in there historical and culture setting.

How were they to understand the term (every eye will see him). The first thing we must do is see how that term was used in the Old Testament historical setting. How was that language used before?

Historical Background.

It seems to have escaped the notice that this language was used before. Surely the Bible student will want to be fully aware of how the verse is used before in contexts.

And I will pour out on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and prayers. And they (i.e., the inhabitants of Jerusalem) shall look on Me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for Him. As one mourns for an only son, and will be bitter over Him like the bitterness over the firstborn. In that day (i.e., when they look on Him whom they had pierced) the mourning in Jerusalem will be great, like the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, families by families alone; the family of the house of David alone, and their wives alone; the family of Nathan alone, and their wives alone; the family of the house of Levi alone, and their wives alone; the family of Shimei alone, and their wives alone; all the families who are left, family by family alone, and their wives alone. (Zechariah 12:10-14.)

Interestingly, John the author of Revelation used Zechariah 12:10-14. The main purpose of Revelation would be to reveal of Jesus to the nation of Israel. The place of this revealing would be Jerusalem. Lastly, this revealing would be to those who pierced Him, i.e., the Jews.

The Hebrew word for family in Zechariah is mishpachah and it means family; by extension a tribe or people. So, in essence, Zechariah was saying that the tribes of the land would mourn for Him whom they had pierced. Who were those tribes? The inhabitants of Jerusalem. This also helps us identify the earth in Revelation 1:7. According to Zechariah, the earth is the land of Palestine, specifically, Jerusalem. Also, it is those tribes, i.e., the nation of Israel, who would look on Me whom they had pierced. And because of that, the mourning in Jerusalem would be great. With all of this information, we can see that the tribes of the earth in Revelation 1:7are the nation of Israel. The earth is Palestine. The land that would mourn is Jerusalem.

Notice also that Zechariah does NOT say all the world will see him. Zechariah says the inhabitants of Jerusalem would see him.

We must keep the simple rule of letting Scripture interpret Scripture. Or finding out how they understood the language. In John 19:37 as Jesus hung on the cross the event was also a fulfillment of Zechariah's words

As shown Zechariah 12:10-14 is the background for Revelation 1:7 and the context demands the event be in the first century generation. Our Lord also employed the language of Zechariah/Revelation in such a way that all controversy as to WHEN and WHO it would happen should be dispelled

I don't know who completely ignore the context of Zechariah/Revelation by saying we will all see Him with our spiritual eyes at the point of death, therefore all will indeed see Him at the point in our individual transition.

I agree this person completely side steps all the context. Now lets see how they understood the verses about clouds in there original language, culture, and historical setting in which they were written.

How did they understand the language about clouds in the Old Testament culture setting?

Clouds are depicted as the chariots of God and indicative of his MAJESTY. In Job 22:12ff Job exalts Jehovah as the one who is in the height of heaven and covered with thick clouds. In Psalm 18 which is a highly apocalyptic description of David's deliverance from Saul the former shepherd tells how Jehovah bowed the heavens...and came down with darkness under his feet, he rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. Now one can look but in vain to find a physical event matching these words. Jehovah had acted to deliver his servant and thus he had come. He had acted and his actions had vindicated his righteousness, thus he was depicted as coming in majesty in the clouds. Psalm 68:32-35 also speaks of God who rides on the heaven of heavens and his strength is in the clouds. Again the concept is his majesty and sovereignty. Psalms 104:3 tells us God makes the clouds his chariots and walks on the wings of the wind.

The idea of God's coming in the clouds is also associated with the exercise of his sovereignty in JUDGING his enemies. In Isaiah 19 Jehovah rides on a swift cloud and will come into Egypt. We know from chapter 20 that it was the Assyrians who were God's instrument of wrath on Egypt, see Isaiah 20:1-4; yet it is said that Jehovah was coming on a cloud. In Zephaniah 1:14-16 we are told the great day of the Lord is near; and that it would be a day of wrath, distress, and a day of clouds, when the Lord would come. We know this is a prediction of the impending judgment on Jerusalem, 1:4ff. This judgment came in 606-586 BC.

Similar language is found in Nahum in the prediction of Nineveh's fall. Jehovah has his way in the whirlwind...and the clouds are the dust of his feet. El Shaddai would come, the mountains would melt, the earth would be destroyed at his presence when he came on the clouds. We know that Nineveh was destroyed, not by a literal coming of Jehovah out of heaven on the clouds, but by the invading armies of the Chaldeans and Medes in approximately 612 BC.

Yet another though related concept of the coming with the clouds is the Messianic motif of Daniel. In Daniel 7 one like the Son of man is depicted as coming in the clouds of heaven. This concept of Messiah on the clouds was certainly one well known in the first century. For John to say in Revelation 1:7 that Jesus would come with the clouds was nothing less than an assertion of his Messianic role as the ruler of the kingdom of God. In his coming in the clouds he was exercising the sovereignty and demonstrating the majesty of deity so well known in the Old Covenant. The idea is not a literal coming with the clouds so much as an identifying factor of the one under consideration. He is to be viewed not just as man but the One, who, like Jehovah, rides on the clouds. The association of Jesus coming in the clouds then was a way for the Biblical writers to IDENTIFY Jesus, in a manner well known to those conversant with Old Testament symbolism, as God's Messiah, as the Judge, worthy of majesty and honor.

This is precisely the thought Jesus was conveying to Caiaphas when he told him he would see him coming in the clouds. When Jesus said he was going to come in the clouds this was a claim to the Messianic office and divine nature; Caiaphas responded, He has spoken blasphemy Caiaphas was not responding to a claim that Jesus would literally return on a physical cloud. He was responding to the IDENTITY which Jesus was claiming by associating himself as the one to come in the clouds of heaven

One final thought. We would note the New Testament TIME FRAME for the coming of Jesus in the clouds. Patently Jesus told Caiaphas he would see Jesus' return in the clouds. He did not say he would die and millenia later be resurrected to view the parousia. He was living and was told he would witness Jesus' return, which we hope is now understood to be the exercise of his Messianic sovereignty by an act of judgment.

In Matthew 24:30-34 we are told emphatically that the disciples' generation would see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven. Reader, how can the honest student of the word ignore such emphatic chronological parameters? How can we divorce Revelation 1:7 and the promise of the coming in the clouds, from Revelation 1:1-3 and the prediction it must shortly come to pass and was at hand ?

All these things are profound but easily understood as long as we take the time to study them in their original (language, culture, politics and historical setting in which the Bible was originally written.
******************************

God bless

ffinder
Aug 26th 2011, 01:34 PM
"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."(Matt 16:27-28)


"Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matt 26:64)


"Jesus said to the church in Pergamum "16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth."(Rev 2/16)




In the 7 letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus spoke to specific churches that actually existed in Johns lifetime.

Jesus spoke about specific deeds that believers were doing in those churches and at the end of each letter

He spoke specific judgements or blessings/promises to those believers.

The specific judgements to those believers were to occur during the lifetime of those believers.

Please note the graphic language that Jesus is using:



or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its placeóunless you repent.

or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.

unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with [m]pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.

if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lieóI will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.

you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.



If you compare the blue/green text with the red/green text

you will see that the graphic language that Jesus is using in judgment is not literal.

I don't believe that Jesus actually came down from heaven to earth to any of the 7 churches

when He says "I am coming to you quickly"

nor did He "made war" physically and they saw Him with a "sword" jumping out of His "mouth"

or the people were blind, naked or the clouds were actual clouds etc.

So with this criteria in the blue/green text Jesus did not literally came down from Heaven to earth.

It's the graphic language that Jesus is using in pronouncing judgement to the Jews just like He did with the 7 churches.

FF

divaD
Aug 26th 2011, 03:29 PM
Why then even believe Jesus is literally returning at all? If these passages the OP brought out are not to be understood in the literal sense, in regards to a 2nd coming, then why understand anything in the literal sense, pertaining to the 2nd coming? How can one conclude..other passages are clear, in regards to the 2nd coming, just not some passages, even tho the passages seem to indicate a return?


Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

So then, verse 22 only applies to those during that time? Not only that, I guess the end was back then? So even today, Christians are not hated for His name's sake? That was only applicable to the Christians of that day?

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.


In order to answer this, all one has to do is see when Scriptures indicate when the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and when His reward is with Him. I'll let the Scriptures do the talking.

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.





Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

IMO, this can possibly be explained in Matthew 25?

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

He would certainly be seen here sitting on the right hand of power, but first coming in the clouds of heaven, as per verse 30. But this doesn't imply Jesus would not already be sitting on the right hand of power prior to this. I admit tho, the order in Matthew 26:64 is a bit different from Matthew 25. With that in mind, perhaps the point is, that because Jesus ends up sitting on the right hand of power, He will then return in the clouds of heaven. But the problem with that, Jesus said that one would see Jesus in this position. So one has to wonder if Jesus was speaking in general, or specifically speaking to these?

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 30th 2011, 07:15 AM
Why then even believe Jesus is literally returning at all? If these passages the OP brought out are not to be understood in the literal sense, in regards to a 2nd coming, then why understand anything in the literal sense, pertaining to the 2nd coming? How can one conclude..other passages are clear, in regards to the 2nd coming, just not some passages, even tho the passages seem to indicate a return?

Part of the problem here is that the Bible is being treated with a "house of cards" mentality: if one passage is metaphorical then we can't trust anything in the Bible to speak at face value. According to this reactionary line of thought, the sixty-six books of Scripture must be treated as wholly literal or wholly metaphorical; but the obvious truth--that Scripture contains both literal and non-literal forms of speech in different contexts--is completely missed because of the fear that the whole deck will fall if any one card is taken away. So the first thing that needs to happen, if we're going to make any sense of Scripture at all, is to let go of that all-or-nothing approach which so obstructs an open reading of the text on its own terms.

Now, with regard to the "son of man" sayings in the Gospels, I think the first question you need to face is this: Why should we assume that Jesus' use of the phrase about the coming of the son of man should be in reference to his coming from heaven to earth, when in the original context of Daniel the son of man is said to come from earth to heaven, into the presence of the ancient of days from which he is given the kingdom? If we should be committed to reading all of the "son of man" passages in the NT literally, then why are we not reading the original "son of man" passage literally? Isn't this a double standard?

Another question: Since the vision of Daniel 7 is filled with metaphors (the sea represents chaos, the beasts represent kingdoms, etc) why do we even assume that the image of the son of man is supposed to be a literal, single individual? All of the language ascribed to that figure in the vision itself is later applied to the "saints of the most high" in the vision's interpretation (vv. 18, 24, 27). Doesn't this suggest that the image of the "son of man" is actually a metaphor for the people of God, just as the "beasts" are metaphors from the nations that oppose the people of God? That is what the context points to, if we let it speak on its own terms.

I know it's been customary to read the Gospels, see Jesus call himself the "son of man", and then go back to Daniel's vision and say "See, that’s Jesus!", but I have come to believe that this view begs too many questions and spuriously imports ideas from outside the context of Daniel 7 to support itself. But if we simply read the text for what it says in its own literary context, a very different picture emerges. And when go to the Gospels with that picture in mind, instead of working the other way around, I think we will find that some otherwise puzzling "son of man" sayings suddenly make perfect sense.

So what would this mean for Jesus' use of the "son of man" in the Gospels? It has often been observed that Daniel's "son of man" was the primary biblical template from which he gathered his own sense of vocation. Jesus pointed back to Daniel 7 more than any other OT passage when explaining who he was and what he was called to do. In fact, Jesus' own allusions to Daniel 7 constitute the majority of the data that we have with which to understand how this passage would have been read in the Second Temple period. If we're willing to accept what Daniel 7 says on its own terms, then it's quite easy to see how Jesus' usage fits with that historical reading.

Generally speaking, the "son of man" sayings which appear in the Synoptic Gospels can be divided into two categories: (1) Those sayings in which Jesus speaks of the "son of man" coming on the clouds, entering into his glory, sitting on his throne etc (e.g. Matt 16:27; 24:30; 25:31). We shall label these the glorification sayings. (2) Those sayings in which Jesus predicts his own tribulation, being handed over to the Gentiles, eventually dying and after three days rising again (e.g. Mark 9:12, 31; 10:33, 45). We shall label these the suffering sayings.

Now as far as the glorification sayings are concerned, it works quite nicely to see Jesus reading Daniel's "son of man" as a deux et machina, a messianic savior coming down out of heaven to deliver the suffering saints of Israel. Although we note, again, that in Daniel's own context, the "son of man" does not appear to be coming down out of heaven to deliver some other, curiously unmentioned party, but rather he appears to coming up into heaven, into the courtroom of the Ancient of Days to be delivered and vindicated himself. In other words, it appears that the "son of man" is actually the one who is suffering under the tyranny of the "beast", being "given into his hand for a time and times and half a time", and who thereafter has a judgment made in his favor, the "kingdom and dominion" being transferred to him from his persecutors. And this way of reading Daniel's original meaning fits just as nicely with Jesus' glorification sayings, seeing in them the implication of exaltation after suffering.

Which leads us to the second category of Jesus' usage. We often see Jesus saying things like "How is it written concerning the son of man, that he must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?", and "the son of man will be betrayed… and they will condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles." Sayings like this are completely puzzling if we understand Daniel's "son of man" as a deux et machina, especially since it really does appear that Jesus is basing his expectation of suffering on what is written "concerning the son of man". But if we read Daniel 7 as I have suggested, seeing the "son of man" as a symbol for Israel, the "saints of the Most High" in the vision's interpretation, then all these "suffering sayings" fall perfectly into place. When Jesus says that he is going to be handed over to the Gentiles in texts like Mark 10:33, he is actually quoting from Daniel 7:25, which says that the saints will be handed over to a monstrous nation to be persecuted before they are vindicated in the heavenly court and their oppressors judged.

If Jesus read Daniel 7 regularly, which he undoubtedly did, then it would only make sense for him to develop a sense of vocation in terms of suffering on behalf of his people, as their representative head. And if he read Daniel 7 hand-in-hand with Isaiah 40-55, which (as Mark 10:45 suggests) he undoubtedly did, then it would only make sense for him to see that representative suffering in redemptive terms, as a calling to bear in his own person the iniquity of the whole nation, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Now I must be clear: I'm not saying that Jesus wasn't calling himself the "son of man". My point is that he was, but that the meaning he intended in identifying himself as the "son of man" was an Israel-meaning. That is, he was saying "I am the Messiah, the representative of God’s people, the true Israel, the true humanity."

This makes perfect sense within the story the Gospel writers tell, which is Jesus' story as the climax of Israel's history. They consistently parallel his life and ministry with the history and vocation of Israel (e.g. Matt 2:14-15). And they didn’t make this up; Jesus himself believed that, as the Messiah, what he was doing was bringing Israel's history to its God-intended climax, and so he regularly and intentionally patterned his actions after Israel's history (e.g. his baptizm echos the exodus, and he immediately goes into the wilderness for 40 days to identify with Israel’s 40 years of wandering).

He intentionally picked 12 disciples, and he gave them promises about their leadership over God's people in the coming age (e.g. Matt 19:28; Luke 22:30), because he believed that through his messianic work God was renewing and reconstituting God's chosen people Israel. And as the Messiah, the one through whom God was inaugurating his sovereign rule, the boundary lines of the covenant were being redrawn around himself (e.g. Matt 7:24-27; 8:11-12; 12:50).

With all this in mind, it makes perfect sense that Jesus would look to a passage like Daniel 7 as a primary template for his vocation as Israel's representative. The point of passages like Matthew 24:30 (and 10:23, 16:27 and 26:64) is that Jesus and his followers will be vindicated over all who stand against them and persecute them unjustly; i.e. the ancient of days will make a verdict in favor of the "son of man" over against the "beasts". And the ironic thing is that the ones who stood in the position of the "beasts" in Jesus' day were, not least, the leadership of Israel.

And that is the rhetorical force that the olivet discourse carried within the eschatological framework of the first century: Jesus was turning the popular expectation (that God would deliver Israel, the "son of man", from the Romans, the "beast", and exalt them over all the kingdoms of the earth) completely on its head, because of Israel's persistent unfaithfulness to their calling to be the true humanity. He was taking their vocation upon himself in order to save as many as would come to him.

So then, in conclusion, we have found that Daniel's original context as well as Jesus' frequent allusions throughout the Gospels support our proposal, that the "son of man" refers first to Israel, the "saints of the most high" in the vision's interpretation, and then from that foundational meaning it applies to Jesus, Israel's Messiah.

Visions
Aug 30th 2011, 10:39 AM
The above post reveals that the teaching of preterism does not recognize who Jesus Christ really is .... far from it

The implication by the poster is evident that He was just a man and not the eternal Son of the living God

divaD
Aug 30th 2011, 02:29 PM
Part of the problem here is that the Bible is being treated with a "house of cards" mentality: if one passage is metaphorical then we can't trust anything in the Bible to speak at face value. According to this reactionary line of thought, the sixty-six books of Scripture must be treated as wholly literal or wholly metaphorical; but the obvious truth--that Scripture contains both literal and non-literal forms of speech in different contexts--is completely missed because of the fear that the whole deck will fall if any one card is taken away. So the first thing that needs to happen, if we're going to make any sense of Scripture at all, is to let go of that all-or-nothing approach which so obstructs an open reading of the text on its own terms.

Now, with regard to the "son of man" sayings in the Gospels, I think the first question you need to face is this: Why should we assume that Jesus' use of the phrase about the coming of the son of man should be in reference to his coming from heaven to earth, when in the original context of Daniel the son of man is said to come from earth to heaven, into the presence of the ancient of days from which he is given the kingdom? If we should be committed to reading all of the "son of man" passages in the NT literally, then why are we not reading the original "son of man" passage literally? Isn't this a double standard?

Another question: Since the vision of Daniel 7 is filled with metaphors (the sea represents chaos, the beasts represent kingdoms, etc) why do we even assume that the image of the son of man is supposed to be a literal, single individual? All of the language ascribed to that figure in the vision itself is later applied to the "saints of the most high" in the vision's interpretation (vv. 18, 24, 27). Doesn't this suggest that the image of the "son of man" is actually a metaphor for the people of God, just as the "beasts" are metaphors from the nations that oppose the people of God? That is what the context points to, if we let it speak on its own terms.

I know it's been customary to read the Gospels, see Jesus call himself the "son of man", and then go back to Daniel's vision and say "See, that’s Jesus!", but I have come to believe that this view begs too many questions and spuriously imports ideas from outside the context of Daniel 7 to support itself. But if we simply read the text for what it says in its own literary context, a very different picture emerges. And when go to the Gospels with that picture in mind, instead of working the other way around, I think we will find that some otherwise puzzling "son of man" sayings suddenly make perfect sense.

So what would this mean for Jesus' use of the "son of man" in the Gospels? It has often been observed that Daniel's "son of man" was the primary biblical template from which he gathered his own sense of vocation. Jesus pointed back to Daniel 7 more than any other OT passage when explaining who he was and what he was called to do. In fact, Jesus' own allusions to Daniel 7 constitute the majority of the data that we have with which to understand how this passage would have been read in the Second Temple period. If we're willing to accept what Daniel 7 says on its own terms, then it's quite easy to see how Jesus' usage fits with that historical reading.

Generally speaking, the "son of man" sayings which appear in the Synoptic Gospels can be divided into two categories: (1) Those sayings in which Jesus speaks of the "son of man" coming on the clouds, entering into his glory, sitting on his throne etc (e.g. Matt 16:27; 24:30; 25:31). We shall label these the glorification sayings. (2) Those sayings in which Jesus predicts his own tribulation, being handed over to the Gentiles, eventually dying and after three days rising again (e.g. Mark 9:12, 31; 10:33, 45). We shall label these the suffering sayings.

Now as far as the glorification sayings are concerned, it works quite nicely to see Jesus reading Daniel's "son of man" as a deux et machina, a messianic savior coming down out of heaven to deliver the suffering saints of Israel. Although we note, again, that in Daniel's own context, the "son of man" does not appear to be coming down out of heaven to deliver some other, curiously unmentioned party, but rather he appears to coming up into heaven, into the courtroom of the Ancient of Days to be delivered and vindicated himself. In other words, it appears that the "son of man" is actually the one who is suffering under the tyranny of the "beast", being "given into his hand for a time and times and half a time", and who thereafter has a judgment made in his favor, the "kingdom and dominion" being transferred to him from his persecutors. And this way of reading Daniel's original meaning fits just as nicely with Jesus' glorification sayings, seeing in them the implication of exaltation after suffering.

Which leads us to the second category of Jesus' usage. We often see Jesus saying things like "How is it written concerning the son of man, that he must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?", and "the son of man will be betrayed… and they will condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles." Sayings like this are completely puzzling if we understand Daniel's "son of man" as a deux et machina, especially since it really does appear that Jesus is basing his expectation of suffering on what is written "concerning the son of man". But if we read Daniel 7 as I have suggested, seeing the "son of man" as a symbol for Israel, the "saints of the Most High" in the vision's interpretation, then all these "suffering sayings" fall perfectly into place. When Jesus says that he is going to be handed over to the Gentiles in texts like Mark 10:33, he is actually quoting from Daniel 7:25, which says that the saints will be handed over to a monstrous nation to be persecuted before they are vindicated in the heavenly court and their oppressors judged.

If Jesus read Daniel 7 regularly, which he undoubtedly did, then it would only make sense for him to develop a sense of vocation in terms of suffering on behalf of his people, as their representative head. And if he read Daniel 7 hand-in-hand with Isaiah 40-55, which (as Mark 10:45 suggests) he undoubtedly did, then it would only make sense for him to see that representative suffering in redemptive terms, as a calling to bear in his own person the iniquity of the whole nation, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Now I must be clear: I'm not saying that Jesus wasn't calling himself the "son of man". My point is that he was, but that the meaning he intended in identifying himself as the "son of man" was an Israel-meaning. That is, he was saying "I am the Messiah, the representative of God’s people, the true Israel, the true humanity."

This makes perfect sense within the story the Gospel writers tell, which is Jesus' story as the climax of Israel's history. They consistently parallel his life and ministry with the history and vocation of Israel (e.g. Matt 2:14-15). And they didn’t make this up; Jesus himself believed that, as the Messiah, what he was doing was bringing Israel's history to its God-intended climax, and so he regularly and intentionally patterned his actions after Israel's history (e.g. his baptizm echos the exodus, and he immediately goes into the wilderness for 40 days to identify with Israel’s 40 years of wandering).

He intentionally picked 12 disciples, and he gave them promises about their leadership over God's people in the coming age (e.g. Matt 19:28; Luke 22:30), because he believed that through his messianic work God was renewing and reconstituting God's chosen people Israel. And as the Messiah, the one through whom God was inaugurating his sovereign rule, the boundary lines of the covenant were being redrawn around himself (e.g. Matt 7:24-27; 8:11-12; 12:50).

With all this in mind, it makes perfect sense that Jesus would look to a passage like Daniel 7 as a primary template for his vocation as Israel's representative. The point of passages like Matthew 24:30 (and 10:23, 16:27 and 26:64) is that Jesus and his followers will be vindicated over all who stand against them and persecute them unjustly; i.e. the ancient of days will make a verdict in favor of the "son of man" over against the "beasts". And the ironic thing is that the ones who stood in the position of the "beasts" in Jesus' day were, not least, the leadership of Israel.

And that is the rhetorical force that the olivet discourse carried within the eschatological framework of the first century: Jesus was turning the popular expectation (that God would deliver Israel, the "son of man", from the Romans, the "beast", and exalt them over all the kingdoms of the earth) completely on its head, because of Israel's persistent unfaithfulness to their calling to be the true humanity. He was taking their vocation upon himself in order to save as many as would come to him.

So then, in conclusion, we have found that Daniel's original context as well as Jesus' frequent allusions throughout the Gospels support our proposal, that the "son of man" refers first to Israel, the "saints of the most high" in the vision's interpretation, and then from that foundational meaning it applies to Jesus, Israel's Messiah.



You made a whole lot of good points, too many for me to address. And besides, obviously our perspectives differ. So instead of addressing you point by point, allow me to address your post from the following perspective instead, then see which perspective seems more likely.

Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Since this passage is debatable, as whether it's meaning as a going to heaven, or returning back to the earth, for the sake of argument, we'll let it mean the former. With that in mind, Jesus is returning to heaven with the clouds of heaven, the first thing that must be asked...did Jesus already possess dominion, and glory, and a kingdom before He arrived?

If this passage is meaning His return to heaven following His departure from the earth post the cross, then the text seems to indicate He received dominion, and glory, and a kingdom only after returning to heaven, and not prior to returning. With that in mind, let's compare that to the passages in the NT.


Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.


In order for anyone to see Him coming in His kingdom, 'coming' being the keyword, He must first possess a kingdom. Verse 27 states...For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels. We already saw in Daniel 7:13-14, assuming that is a returning to heaven passage, that the Son of man did not receive glory, and a kingdom until He first entered back into heaven, then was presented before the Ancient of days,

I think what throws folks off is verse 28. It seems to me that some of you are the ones interpreting a bit too literal.

Let's look at Matthew 16:27-28 from another perspective...Luke 9:25-27.

Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

We need to read verse 27 from the perspective of verse 25 and 26, since that would establish a timezone. When would verse 26 be applicable?

Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:


This would be when those in Luke 9:27 taste of death, and are cast away as per Luke 9:25 and Matthew 25:30. This occurs, not before the Lord has returned, but when the Lord returns.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

This context relates to the following context...Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

One thing that must come to pass before Mark 13:30 can be fulfilled is..Mark 13:26-27.

Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Here we are again..And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. Clearly then, still assuming Daniel 7:13-14 is a return to heaven passage, the Son of man did not return to heaven coming in the clouds with great power and glory. So that could only mean, Mark 13:26-27 is a 2nd coming passage, since He would already possess great power and glory upon returning to the earth.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

This one is bit more difficult to discern the timing. The coming in the clouds of heaven would have to be applicable to the return to earth, since this doesn't fit with the return to heaven. He did not return to heaven coming in the clouds of heaven, already sitting on the right hand of power. The correct order seems to be, again, assuming Daniel 7:13-14 is a return to heaven passage..The Son of man returns to heaven, and then sits on the right hand of power, and then returns to earth coming in the clouds of heaven.

divaD
Aug 30th 2011, 04:24 PM
Generally speaking, the "son of man" sayings which appear in the Synoptic Gospels can be divided into two categories: (1) Those sayings in which Jesus speaks of the "son of man" coming on the clouds, entering into his glory, sitting on his throne etc (e.g. Matt 16:27; 24:30; 25:31)



Let's look at Matt 25 a bit closer then. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you seem to be implying that Matt 25:31 is not a 2nd coming passage.

Matthew 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey..
Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I see absolutely no reason to divorce the above context, especially verse 30, from the remainder of Matt 25, since verse 31 tells us when verse 30 occurs. If we look at Matthew 25:14-30 in context, this would be referring to Jesus. Clearly verse 14 would be depicting His return to heaven following the cross. That would have to mean that verse 19 is depicting His return to earth after a long period of time. Then verse 30 occurs after His return, with verse 31 telling us how He returns. If we read Matthew 25:14-46 together, we can indeed deduce the timing of Matthew 25:31 from the context of Matthew 25:14-30, I would think.



Now I must be clear: I'm not saying that Jesus wasn't calling himself the "son of man". My point is that he was, but that the meaning he intended in identifying himself as the "son of man" was an Israel-meaning. That is, he was saying "I am the Messiah, the representative of Godís people, the true Israel, the true humanity."

I somewhat see your point here, I think. Perhaps this is the reason Fenris misunderstands Isaiah 52 and 53, since he sees the suffering servant as only ethnic Israel, but not as the Messiah, the representative of Godís people, the true Israel, the true humanity, to borrow your words. But even so, this doesn't imply that the Son of man coming in the clouds has to refer to a time before His 2nd coming, as I have tried to show via this posts and prior posts.

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 30th 2011, 04:39 PM
The above post reveals that the teaching of preterism does not recognize who Jesus Christ really is .... far from it

The implication by the poster is evident that He was just a man and not the eternal Son the living God

Where did I ever imply that Jesus was just a man? Because I spoke of him as Israel's Messiah? Or because I spoke of him as carrying a real sense of vocation from his reading of the Scriptures, instead of simply walking around, doing miracles unreflectively like a divine zombie? Because if that's the reason why you thought my post implied that Jesus wasn't God, then you may have to rethink what the word "God" means in reference to Jesus. Is it the "absentee landlord" God of Aristotle that we're talking about, or the transcendent yet present God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 30th 2011, 04:52 PM
You made a whole lot of good points, too many for me to address. And besides, obviously our perspectives differ. So instead of addressing you point by point, allow me to address your post from the following perspective instead, then see which perspective seems more likely.

Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Since this passage is debatable, as whether it's meaning as a going to heaven, or returning back to the earth, for the sake of argument, we'll let it mean the former. With that in mind, Jesus is returning to heaven with the clouds of heaven, the first thing that must be asked...did Jesus already possess dominion, and glory, and a kingdom before He arrived?

If this passage is meaning His return to heaven following His departure from the earth post the cross, then the text seems to indicate He received dominion, and glory, and a kingdom only after returning to heaven, and not prior to returning. With that in mind, let's compare that to the passages in the NT.


Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.


In order for anyone to see Him coming in His kingdom, 'coming' being the keyword, He must first possess a kingdom. Verse 27 states...For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels. We already saw in Daniel 7:13-14, assuming that is a returning to heaven passage, that the Son of man did not receive glory, and a kingdom until He first entered back into heaven, then was presented before the Ancient of days,

I think what throws folks off is verse 28. It seems to me that some of you are the ones interpreting a bit too literal.

Let's look at Matthew 16:27-28 from another perspective...Luke 9:25-27.

Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

We need to read verse 27 from the perspective of verse 25 and 26, since that would establish a timezone. When would verse 26 be applicable?

Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:


This would be when those in Luke 9:27 taste of death, and are cast away as per Luke 9:25 and Matthew 25:30. This occurs, not before the Lord has returned, but when the Lord returns.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

This context relates to the following context...Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

One thing that must come to pass before Mark 13:30 can be fulfilled is..Mark 13:26-27.

Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Here we are again..And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. Clearly then, still assuming Daniel 7:13-14 is a return to heaven passage, the Son of man did not return to heaven coming in the clouds with great power and glory. So that could only mean, Mark 13:26-27 is a 2nd coming passage, since He would already possess great power and glory upon returning to the earth.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

This one is bit more difficult to discern the timing. The coming in the clouds of heaven would have to be applicable to the return to earth, since this doesn't fit with the return to heaven. He did not return to heaven coming in the clouds of heaven, already sitting on the right hand of power. The correct order seems to be, again, assuming Daniel 7:13-14 is a return to heaven passage..The Son of man returns to heaven, and then sits on the right hand of power, and then returns to earth coming in the clouds of heaven.

I think you misunderstood my point. My point was that if we’re really going to understand the "coming of the son of man" literally, then it should be acknowledged that in its original Biblical context the "son of man" comes up on the clouds into the presence of the Ancient of Days, not down on the clouds to the earth. But I don't believe that's really the point of Daniel 7:13. The real point of the son of man’s exaltation is not metaphysical, but sociological: the point is that the people of God will be vindicated over their enemies, the "beasts", and given the kingdoms of the world which previously belonged to them. It's a metaphor. And as such, it can be applied to all sorts of different contexts, like Jesus' resurrection, ascension, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the second coming. We just have to read each passage where the phrase occurs on it's own terms to find out what the primary referent is in that particular context.

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 30th 2011, 05:01 PM
Let's look at Matt 25 a bit closer then. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you seem to be implying that Matt 25:31 is not a 2nd coming passage.

What is Matthew 25:31-46 all about? It’s about the coming of the son of man and the judgment of the nations according to how they treated his brethren, of course. But how should we understand this “coming”? The long established tradition has been to read this quasi-parabolic passage as speaking quite literally of the last judgment at Christ’s second coming. Such a reading of Matthew 25 comes naturally on the heals of the futurist reading of Matthew 24, which still holds sway in popular opinion despite Jesus’ insistence that all the events of that passage, including the “coming of the son of man”, would assuredly come about in that generation (24:34).

The popular reading of this passage has held such sway over our culture partially because of its appeal to the literal or straightforward sense of the text; but this appeal has usually functioned as a Trojan horse, carrying inside itself an assumption about the literary style of the Gospels which has more affinities with modern discourse than to anything a first century Jew like Jesus would have actually said.

From every other “son of man” saying in Matthew’s Gospel, it appears that he retains the original Danielic sense of vindication and exaltation. This is most obvious in 10:23, 16:27-28, and 26:64, which all speak of the son of man receiving his kingdom and executing judgment within the lifetime of those listening. The disciple’s won’t even finish carrying the gospel throughout all the cities of Israel, Jesus says in 10:23, “before the son of man comes”. Or, very close to the first line of the passage in question, he declares in 16:27 that “the son of man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done”—and, believe it or not, “there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the son of man coming in his kingdom.” Finally, in the often-overlooked trial scene in 26:64, Jesus says to the high priest that “from now on you will see the son of man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The key phrase in that last passage is “from now on”, which is about as close as Matthew comes to the outright investment of glory which John gives to the cross when he attests Jesus as saying things like “Now the son of man is glorified”, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out”, and “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” (John 12:31, 32; 13:31). The conviction which both Matthew and John unambiguously express is that the exaltation of the son of man would be seen not merely at the end of history but also in the matrix of events unfolding from his messianic work in the middle of history.

The Jesus we see in the Gospels, and especially in Matthew’s own account, regularly envisaged events of judgment and vindication which were to come about in the generation to which he was sent. The cross, the resurrection and ascension, and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 were all such events. Jesus invested these events with a cosmic and theological significance beyond what would have been readily obvious to a casual bystander—indeed, a significance beyond the grasp of many of his later would-be interpreters. But what all of the above examples reveal, especially the ones most closely resembling Matt 25:31-46, is that Jesus regularly anticipated those nearly unfolding and closely related events in the traditional prophetic terms of a “last judgment”, i.e. the time when the righteous would be gathered and vindicated and the wicked decisively judged.

The point is that Jesus is to be exalted as the ruler of the world, vindicated after his suffering, and what we are invited to witness in Matt 25:31-46 is the way in which this just rule will be exercised. As N.T. Wright puts it in his Matthew for Everyone, “The scene is the climax of a long discourse in which Jesus has denounced his own people, especially their would-be leaders, for their failure to live as God’s people should, and has spoken of his own coming exaltation in accordance with the biblical picture of the vindication of the son of man. In that context, what we have here is a refocusing of one regular Jewish way of talking about God’s judgment of the world.” In other words, with the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus after suffering, the final judgment has, in some sense, come forward to meet us. Hence the reason why Matthew’s Jesus concludes this long eschatological discourse by speaking of the coming Passover in Jerusalem and his own Messianic mission, as the “son of man”, to be delivered up to be crucified. The point is that New Exodus has come. All those found on the side of the crucified Messiah will be redeemed and vindicated together with him while all those standing against him will be judged according to his just rule.

How, then, is this just rule to be exercised? Wright comes to our aid once more: “Instead of the nations being judged on how they had treated Israel, as some Jewish writings envisage, Jesus, consistently with his whole redefinition of God’s people around himself, declares that he will himself judge the world on how it has treated his renewed Israel. Judging the nations is, of course, regularly thought of as part of the Messiah’s task (e.g. Psalm 2:8-12); and the king or Messiah is often pictured as a shepherd (e.g. Ezekiel 34:23-24). That, perhaps, is why the image of sheep and goats is inserted into this scene of judgment.”

Of course, despite the historical strength of the reading suggested above, I know many simply won’t be able to receive it. “Clearly,” someone will surely protest, “the nations have not been judged.” Giving a full response to this objection would take up much more space than a post like this should bear. To briefly comment, however, it must be clarified that no one is saying all wickedness has already been eradicated or that there is now nothing left to be done; of course Jesus’ present enthronement as lord of the earth must be seen within an “already but not yet” framework. But the “not yet” dimension of the kingdom (which must always be held strongly for a holistic view of the Christian story) doesn’t change the fact that the NT writers often speak of the “already” dimension in quite absolute terms. Read the passages cited above once more, especially the one from John about “this world” being judged “now”, and try to fit that within a wholly futurist scheme. But if we really take the “already” language of the NT for what it’s worth, then there is no reason—exegetical, experiential, or otherwise—to say that Matthew 25:31-46 shouldn’t be read in the same way as the rest of Matthew’s “son of man” passages, i.e. as speaking of a great judgment and vindication that was to come about within that generation.

John 8:32
Aug 30th 2011, 07:16 PM
Act 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


Zec 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Luk 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

I don't think this has happened yet.

John146
Aug 30th 2011, 08:24 PM
What is Matthew 25:31-46 all about? It’s about the coming of the son of man and the judgment of the nations according to how they treated his brethren, of course. But how should we understand this “coming”? The long established tradition has been to read this quasi-parabolic passage as speaking quite literally of the last judgment at Christ’s second coming. Such a reading of Matthew 25 comes naturally on the heals of the futurist reading of Matthew 24, which still holds sway in popular opinion despite Jesus’ insistence that all the events of that passage, including the “coming of the son of man”, would assuredly come about in that generation (24:34).The coming of the Son of man will come at the end of the age (Matt 24:3) and the end of the age has not yet come. The end of the age is when the just will be separated from the unjust with the unjust being cast into the fire (Matt 13:36-43, Matt 13:47-50) and that has not yet occurred.


The popular reading of this passage has held such sway over our culture partially because of its appeal to the literal or straightforward sense of the text; but this appeal has usually functioned as a Trojan horse, carrying inside itself an assumption about the literary style of the Gospels which has more affinities with modern discourse than to anything a first century Jew like Jesus would have actually said. The reason I see Matt 25:31-46 as being about the last judgment at Christ's second coming has nothing to do with what you're talking about. Tell me, do you believe the following verses are speaking of the same thing?

Matt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

If so then that would mean you believe Rev 20:15 is fulfilled since you believe Matt 25:41 already occurred. Would that mean you don't believe in a future judgment day where all people will have to stand before Christ and give an account of themselves?

Matthehitmanhart
Aug 31st 2011, 05:57 AM
The coming of the Son of man will come at the end of the age (Matt 24:3) and the end of the age has not yet come. The end of the age is when the just will be separated from the unjust with the unjust being cast into the fire (Matt 13:36-43, Matt 13:47-50) and that has not yet occurred.

The reason I see Matt 25:31-46 as being about the last judgment at Christ's second coming has nothing to do with what you're talking about. Tell me, do you believe the following verses are speaking of the same thing?

Matt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

If so then that would mean you believe Rev 20:15 is fulfilled since you believe Matt 25:41 already occurred. Would that mean you don't believe in a future judgment day where all people will have to stand before Christ and give an account of themselves?

We've gone around the mountain on this issue a couple times now, Eric, but I still don't think you've quite grasped what exactly it is that I'm proposing. No, I don't think the final judgment has occurred, and no, I don't think Revelation 20:15 and Matt 25:41 are referring to the same thing. Obviously they both use similar language, which in the Jewish tradition had been applied to all sorts of different socio-political events besides the final judgment, but I don't think there's any reason to say that because they use similar language they must both be referring to the same event. That's precisely the kind of "house of cards" mentality that we need to be rid of.

Ultimately, though, that kind of reasoning can't even follow it's own rules. I mean, I think we would all agree that a text like John 12:32 is not referring to the actual final judgment when it says "now is the judgment of this world", and "now the ruler of this world will be cast out"; but it is using the traditional language of a final judgment, just like Matt 25:41 and Rev 20:15. Again Eric, this is simply how metaphor works: you take imagery from one arena (in this case, the final judgment) and apply it to another (in this case, the cross) in order to invest the latter with some of the meaning of the former. But if we try to insist instead, as you doggedly do, that all "final judgment" language in Scripture must be literally referring to the actual final judgment, then we are bound for disappointment when the house of cards falls, which it inevitably will.

John146
Aug 31st 2011, 07:27 PM
We've gone around the mountain on this issue a couple times now, Eric,So? It's common for people to revisit issues they've discussed before on this forum. There wouldn't be much to talk about if we couldn't talk about things that have already been discussed before. Sometimes when we talk about things we've talked about before a new angle comes up and we can discuss the issue in a deeper way than before. That's what I thought could potentially happen here so that's why I'm going around this mountain again with you, if you don't mind.


but I still don't think you've quite grasped what exactly it is that I'm proposing. No, I don't think the final judgment has occurred, and no, I don't think Revelation 20:15 and Matt 25:41 are referring to the same thing. Obviously they both use similar language, which in the Jewish tradition had been applied to all sorts of different socio-political events besides the final judgment, but I don't think there's any reason to say that because they use similar language they must both be referring to the same event.I'm sorry, where did I say that they "must" refer to the same event? Obviously, I believe that they do refer to the same event, but I don't recall saying that they "must". No, it's not a proven fact that they must be the same event, but I'd like to know why you think they aren't. Please tell me what you believe is the difference between the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41) and the lake of fire (Rev 20:15). In each case (Matt 25:41 and Rev 20:15) it speaks of unbelievers being cast into the fire after a judgment occurs so I'm not seeing how they can be different events. I don't see any difference in the context of Matt 25:31-46 and Rev 20:11-15. Is there more than one judgment day where all people stand before the throne and where all unbelievers are cast into the fire?


That's precisely the kind of "house of cards" mentality that we need to be rid of. Do you think I don't understand that two different texts can be similar but still not be speaking of the same event? Have you not read the thread I created regarding Zechariah 12:10-14? In that thread I made the point that although Zechariah 12:10 and Rev 1:7 (and Matt 24:30) are similar they are not speaking of the same event. So, you don't need to lecture me about this kind of thing.


Ultimately, though, that kind of reasoning can't even follow it's own rules. I mean, I think we would all agree that a text like John 12:32 is not referring to the actual final judgment when it says "now is the judgment of this world", and "now the ruler of this world will be cast out"; but it is using the traditional language of a final judgment, just like Matt 25:41 and Rev 20:15. Again Eric, this is simply how metaphor works: you take imagery from one arena (in this case, the final judgment) and apply it to another (in this case, the cross) in order to invest the latter with some of the meaning of the former. But if we try to insist instead, as you doggedly do, that all "final judgment" language in Scripture must be literally referring to the actual final judgment, then we are bound for disappointment when the house of cards falls, which it inevitably will.I'm sorry, where did I claim that all final judgment language in scripture must be literally referring to the actual final judgment? I'm pretty sure I didn't. So, instead of making all these judgments about me why don't you (in plain, succinct language) explain to me how exactly the judgment of Matthew 25:31-46 is different than the judgment of Rev 20:11-15.

Matthehitmanhart
Sep 2nd 2011, 06:19 PM
instead of making all these judgments about me why don't you (in plain, succinct language) explain to me how exactly the judgment of Matthew 25:31-46 is different than the judgment of Rev 20:11-15.

I already did, in post #13. Context.

divaD
Sep 2nd 2011, 07:03 PM
What is Matthew 25:31-46 all about? It’s about the coming of the son of man and the judgment of the nations according to how they treated his brethren, of course. But how should we understand this “coming”? The long established tradition has been to read this quasi-parabolic passage as speaking quite literally of the last judgment at Christ’s second coming. Such a reading of Matthew 25 comes naturally on the heals of the futurist reading of Matthew 24, which still holds sway in popular opinion despite Jesus’ insistence that all the events of that passage, including the “coming of the son of man”, would assuredly come about in that generation (24:34).

The popular reading of this passage has held such sway over our culture partially because of its appeal to the literal or straightforward sense of the text; but this appeal has usually functioned as a Trojan horse, carrying inside itself an assumption about the literary style of the Gospels which has more affinities with modern discourse than to anything a first century Jew like Jesus would have actually said.

From every other “son of man” saying in Matthew’s Gospel, it appears that he retains the original Danielic sense of vindication and exaltation. This is most obvious in 10:23, 16:27-28, and 26:64, which all speak of the son of man receiving his kingdom and executing judgment within the lifetime of those listening. The disciple’s won’t even finish carrying the gospel throughout all the cities of Israel, Jesus says in 10:23, “before the son of man comes”. Or, very close to the first line of the passage in question, he declares in 16:27 that “the son of man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done”—and, believe it or not, “there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the son of man coming in his kingdom.” Finally, in the often-overlooked trial scene in 26:64, Jesus says to the high priest that “from now on you will see the son of man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The key phrase in that last passage is “from now on”, which is about as close as Matthew comes to the outright investment of glory which John gives to the cross when he attests Jesus as saying things like “Now the son of man is glorified”, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out”, and “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” (John 12:31, 32; 13:31). The conviction which both Matthew and John unambiguously express is that the exaltation of the son of man would be seen not merely at the end of history but also in the matrix of events unfolding from his messianic work in the middle of history.

The Jesus we see in the Gospels, and especially in Matthew’s own account, regularly envisaged events of judgment and vindication which were to come about in the generation to which he was sent. The cross, the resurrection and ascension, and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 were all such events. Jesus invested these events with a cosmic and theological significance beyond what would have been readily obvious to a casual bystander—indeed, a significance beyond the grasp of many of his later would-be interpreters. But what all of the above examples reveal, especially the ones most closely resembling Matt 25:31-46, is that Jesus regularly anticipated those nearly unfolding and closely related events in the traditional prophetic terms of a “last judgment”, i.e. the time when the righteous would be gathered and vindicated and the wicked decisively judged.

The point is that Jesus is to be exalted as the ruler of the world, vindicated after his suffering, and what we are invited to witness in Matt 25:31-46 is the way in which this just rule will be exercised. As N.T. Wright puts it in his Matthew for Everyone, “The scene is the climax of a long discourse in which Jesus has denounced his own people, especially their would-be leaders, for their failure to live as God’s people should, and has spoken of his own coming exaltation in accordance with the biblical picture of the vindication of the son of man. In that context, what we have here is a refocusing of one regular Jewish way of talking about God’s judgment of the world.” In other words, with the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus after suffering, the final judgment has, in some sense, come forward to meet us. Hence the reason why Matthew’s Jesus concludes this long eschatological discourse by speaking of the coming Passover in Jerusalem and his own Messianic mission, as the “son of man”, to be delivered up to be crucified. The point is that New Exodus has come. All those found on the side of the crucified Messiah will be redeemed and vindicated together with him while all those standing against him will be judged according to his just rule.

How, then, is this just rule to be exercised? Wright comes to our aid once more: “Instead of the nations being judged on how they had treated Israel, as some Jewish writings envisage, Jesus, consistently with his whole redefinition of God’s people around himself, declares that he will himself judge the world on how it has treated his renewed Israel. Judging the nations is, of course, regularly thought of as part of the Messiah’s task (e.g. Psalm 2:8-12); and the king or Messiah is often pictured as a shepherd (e.g. Ezekiel 34:23-24). That, perhaps, is why the image of sheep and goats is inserted into this scene of judgment.”

Of course, despite the historical strength of the reading suggested above, I know many simply won’t be able to receive it. “Clearly,” someone will surely protest, “the nations have not been judged.” Giving a full response to this objection would take up much more space than a post like this should bear. To briefly comment, however, it must be clarified that no one is saying all wickedness has already been eradicated or that there is now nothing left to be done; of course Jesus’ present enthronement as lord of the earth must be seen within an “already but not yet” framework. But the “not yet” dimension of the kingdom (which must always be held strongly for a holistic view of the Christian story) doesn’t change the fact that the NT writers often speak of the “already” dimension in quite absolute terms. Read the passages cited above once more, especially the one from John about “this world” being judged “now”, and try to fit that within a wholly futurist scheme. But if we really take the “already” language of the NT for what it’s worth, then there is no reason—exegetical, experiential, or otherwise—to say that Matthew 25:31-46 shouldn’t be read in the same way as the rest of Matthew’s “son of man” passages, i.e. as speaking of a great judgment and vindication that was to come about within that generation.


Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdomprepared for you from the foundation of the world:

What about this key phrase in verse 34? 'inherit the kingdom'.

When does that occur, according to other Scriptures?

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

This seems to be speaking in future terms, and not present terms.


And to prove it with another Scripture, consider the following.

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

With all of this in mind, let's go back to Matt 25.


Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Notice that Jesus is speaking of these as in the past tense. He isn't speaking in the present tense, nor the future tense, in regards to their deeds. He is clearly speaking of their deeds as in the past tense. That doesn't seem to fit with the scenario you laid out in your post. I read your entire post, and you indeed brought up some rather interesting points, but I don't see where your conclusions are agreeing with the timing of things, based on the key phrase in question...'inherit the kingdom'.

Matthehitmanhart
Sep 2nd 2011, 08:08 PM
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdomprepared for you from the foundation of the world:

What about this key phrase in verse 34? 'inherit the kingdom'.

When does that occur, according to other Scriptures?

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

This seems to be speaking in future terms, and not present terms.


And to prove it with another Scripture, consider the following.

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

With all of this in mind, let's go back to Matt 25.


Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Notice that Jesus is speaking of these as in the past tense. He isn't speaking in the present tense, nor the future tense, in regards to their deeds. He is clearly speaking of their deeds as in the past tense. That doesn't seem to fit with the scenario you laid out in your post. I read your entire post, and you indeed brought up some rather interesting points, but I don't see where your conclusions are agreeing with the timing of things, based on the key phrase in question...'inherit the kingdom'.

I think there are some key hermeneutical questions which your point here raises:

1) What has more precedence on the understanding of a specific passage (like Matt 25:31-46) by a specific author (Matthew) transmitting the words of a specific person (Jesus)? Does the context of that passage, of Matthew's gospel, and other similar sayings of Jesus have the priority, or do other NT passages outside of Matthew and by different speakers other than Jesus have the priority? I'm arguing for the former. If the whole of Matthew's last discourse section has up to this point concerned itself primarily with the judgment of that wicked generation and the vindication of Jesus' followers, then why should this last passage be the exception? Especially granted the points made in post #13, that the two motifs of the "coming of the son of man" and the "last judgment" were most often used by Jesus (and most distinctively in Matthew) to refer to the matrix of events unfolding from his messianic work in that generation (e.g. the cross, resurrection, ascension, and destruction of Jerusalem), then why should this qausi-parabolic portrayal of those same themes be read as speaking of an event separated from that generation by over two thousand years?

This dovetails with my response to Eric. I would agree, of course, that Matthew 25:31-46 has certain affinities with Revelation 20:11-15, as both elaborate on the OT theme of a final assize, but it would be unwise to draw the hasty conclusion from these affinities that both passages are thereby speaking of the same events. The language of Matthew 25:31 has a much closer parallel in Matthew 16:27; closer, in fact, on no fewer than three counts: (1) the language of the two texts match almost exactly, (2) their proximity is much closer to one another, both being Matthean, and (3) they both have the same oral source, Jesus. And, as I've already pointed out, Jesus claims explicitly in Matthew 16:28 that some of the disciples would still be alive to witness the "coming" of which he spoke in 16:27. There is, therefore, a much greater contextual claim for the imagery of Matthew 25:31-46 having a first century referent.

2) Is the kingdom fully future, or has it been partly inaugurated by Jesus' death and resurrection? Because if it has in some sense already arrived, then there is no theological reason why Jesus should not speak of our "inheriting the kingdom" before the final judgment. In Luke's account of the last supper, for instance, Jesus speaks of how he will not eat or drink again "until the kingdom of God comes", and then he proceeds to speak of his inaugurating the "new covenant" (Luke 22:15-20); then, after the cross and resurrection, Jesus eats with two bewildered disciples, and as he takes the bread, blesses it and breaks it, their eyes are opened and they know it's the risen Lord. Luke intentionally echoes Jesus' action at the last supper by using the same phrase in 24:30 that he did in 22:19, in order to make the point that the new day has come, the Messiah has entered into his glory, and the kingdom of God has indeed come upon us. In both Luke and Matthew, the last supper is all about inaugurated eschatology, about the great victory that Jesus is about to accomplish on the cross. And in both Matthew and in Luke, the "kingdom" is spoken of with reference to what Jesus is about to do (cf. Matt 26:29). Thus I see no reason why Jesus should not have been speaking of the same theme of the imminent kingdom right before the last supper, in Matt 25:31-46. Indeed, it seems to me that this is part of Matthew's point (cf. Matt 26:1-2).

divaD
Sep 3rd 2011, 06:31 PM
I think you misunderstood my point. My point was that if we’re really going to understand the "coming of the son of man" literally, then it should be acknowledged that in its original Biblical context the "son of man" comes up on the clouds into the presence of the Ancient of Days, not down on the clouds to the earth. But I don't believe that's really the point of Daniel 7:13. The real point of the son of man’s exaltation is not metaphysical, but sociological: the point is that the people of God will be vindicated over their enemies, the "beasts", and given the kingdoms of the world which previously belonged to them. It's a metaphor. And as such, it can be applied to all sorts of different contexts, like Jesus' resurrection, ascension, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the second coming. We just have to read each passage where the phrase occurs on it's own terms to find out what the primary referent is in that particular context.



Actually I do somewhat understand your point, except I'm considering another perspective, in which I think explains how the Son of man can be seen both coming to heaven in the clouds, and returning to earth in the clouds. You go on to say this is a metaphor. So why can't it be both? Why does it have to be one or the other?

Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

I would think this is not a metaphor. Of course the cloud wouldn't be a literal cloud, it would be referring to angels I would think. But what wouldn't be a metaphor is this event they witnessed. I would think the cloud would be the same as Daniel 7:13...one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven.

But that's not the end of it tho. The passage goes on to state...Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


This to me would indicate that he gets escorted back to earth via the same clouds of heaven, but this time, with great glory, and a kingdom, since that's what He received once returning to heaven. Acts 1:11 would then explain the Son of man coming in great power, and glory, in relation to His 2nd coming.

But let's say none of this is applicable to the 2nd coming. How do you envision Jesus returning? Do you see Him returning by Himself, no angels accompanying Him?



Overall I do see where you're coming from tho. But I also think it's important that we first establish the correct timezone, before we can even begin to interpret any passage correctly. So if you don't mind me asking, what method, if any, do you use to establish the time frame of said passages?

Don't get me wrong tho, in many ways I can see where what you are saying fits with a lot of things. Yet at the same time, I can't help but think your conclusions are not fitting with the time frame. You give me a lot to think about. It's one of these things where I get what you're saying, I'm inches away from fully grasping it, yet I can't quite make it those last cpl of inches, maybe because I'm looking at this from an entirely different perspective.

Visions
Sep 4th 2011, 12:34 AM
The Lord's second advent:

A vision of His future coming given on the mount to His early disciples [Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 17:1-9]

The order of actual future events involved at the time of the end of this present age:

The "snatching" away of His church of today, both those asleep and those living at the time [1Corinthians 15:22-23; 15:51-53; 1Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2Thessalonians 2:1; Revelation 3:10; 18:4]

As a thief suddenly and with no warning to bring His hour [time] of trial and judgment upon the earth [earth dwellers will not see Him, but will know that they are under judgment] [1Thessalonians 5:1-9; Matthew 24:36-39; Revelation 6:12-17]

His leading of the 144000 Israelites during the same period who will preach the gospel of His coming millennial reign upon the earth [Matthew 24:14; Revelation 6:2; 7:1-8; 14:1-7]

His intervention to destroy satan's beast in the little horn and his human followers at Armageddon [Isaiah 63:1-4; Ezekiel 39; Joel 2:20; 3:9-16; Obadiah 1:1-21; Zechariah 14:3; Jude 1:14-15; Revelation 14:14-20; 16:1-16; 19:11-21]

The capture of Satan and his imprisonment in the abyss for 1000 years [Revelation 20:1-3]

His appearance to the mortal survivors of the tribulation of those days and His gathering and separation of those of Israel and of the nations [Matthew Isaiah 11: 27:13; 24:29-31; 25:31-46]

The beginning of His reign upon the earth over a kingdom of mortals for 1000 years [Isaiah 11; Joel 3:16-21; Micah 4:1-3; 5:7-8; Zechariah 14:6-11; Revelation 20:4-6]

The release of Satan at the end of the 1000 years who will cause another human rebellion [Revelation 20:7-9]

Satan's destruction in the lake of fire [Revelation 20:10]

His gathering and judgment of all of the spirits of the unbelieving human dead [the tares] from the beginning of human creation and their destruction in the lake of fire [Revelation 20:11-15]

The beginning of eternity [Revelation 21]

Matthehitmanhart
Sep 4th 2011, 07:47 AM
Actually I do somewhat understand your point, except I'm considering another perspective, in which I think explains how the Son of man can be seen both coming to heaven in the clouds, and returning to earth in the clouds. You go on to say this is a metaphor. So why can't it be both? Why does it have to be one or the other?

Indeed, it can be both. As I said before, I think the metaphor of exaltation can be applied to all sorts of different contexts, like the cross and resurrection (e.g. Matt 10:23; 16:24-28; 26:64; John 12:23-26; 13:31-32), the ascension (e.g. Acts 1:9), the destruction of Jerusalem (e.g. Matt 24:29-30; Luke 17:24-37; 21:25-28), and of course the second coming (e.g. 1 Thess 4:15-17). Personally, though, I think it was only after the resurrection and ascension that the metaphor began to be used in reference to the second coming, as the hope of his appearing grew out of the belief that he had risen and was now seated at the right hand of God (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Thess 4:14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus"). I don't believe there's a primary reference to the second coming in the gospels themselves, though an application to the second coming is not out of keeping with the theme in the gospels.


Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

I would think this is not a metaphor. Of course the cloud wouldn't be a literal cloud, it would be referring to angels I would think. But what wouldn't be a metaphor is this event they witnessed. I would think the cloud would be the same as Daniel 7:13...one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven.

But that's not the end of it tho. The passage goes on to state...Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


This to me would indicate that he gets escorted back to earth via the same clouds of heaven, but this time, with great glory, and a kingdom, since that's what He received once returning to heaven. Acts 1:11 would then explain the Son of man coming in great power, and glory, in relation to His 2nd coming.

I agree.


But let's say none of this is applicable to the 2nd coming. How do you envision Jesus returning? Do you see Him returning by Himself, no angels accompanying Him?

I do think Acts 1:11 is in reference to the second coming, as are other passages like 1 Thess 4:14-18, 2 Thess 1:6-12, Titus 2:13-14, for instance. These passages use much of the same imagery from the OT that the gospel writers had used with reference to the cross and resurrection, etc, which of course makes sense since the resurrection and the second coming are thematically bound together in the purposes of God as the inauguration and consummation of his kingdom.


Overall I do see where you're coming from tho. But I also think it's important that we first establish the correct timezone, before we can even begin to interpret any passage correctly. So if you don't mind me asking, what method, if any, do you use to establish the time frame of said passages?

Context is everything. When the gospel writers give explicit indicators that what they are talking about has a primary reference to that immediate generation, then I have to take note. For instance, explanations of passages like Matt 10:23, 16:28 and 26:64 that do not acknowledge their immediate point of reference to the generation then living are not being sensitive to the meaning which those texts would have carried in their first century context.


Don't get me wrong tho, in many ways I can see where what you are saying fits with a lot of things. Yet at the same time, I can't help but think your conclusions are not fitting with the time frame. You give me a lot to think about. It's one of these things where I get what you're saying, I'm inches away from fully grasping it, yet I can't quite make it those last cpl of inches, maybe because I'm looking at this from an entirely different perspective.

No problem. I hope some of what I said helps.