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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Comments On Matthew 10:23


Matthew 10:23 is one of those  verses in the Bible traditionally considered to be a "difficult text".  And by calling it a "difficult text" spectators are supposed to assume the majority of other texts on the same subject present a different view, picture or interpretation.  In the text, St. Matthew records Jesus informing his Apostles,
"When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.  Verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come"  (Matthew 10:23). 
This passage clearly puts the coming or return of Christ within the lifetime of the Apostles.  And therein lies the problem: the official interpretation always takes for granted that the Lord's return is yet future and NOT constrained to the lifetime of the Apostles. Is Matthew 10:23 unusual in this regard? Or do other New Testament Scriptures require a first century return?  Most commentators do not think so.  Most like e.g. William Barclay, believe Matthew, out of a desire to comfort persecuted Christians, sought to make the Second Coming seem nearer than it actually was.  Some believe Jesus supposed he would return within a relatively short time, but did not.  Some believe the text may not refer to the Second Coming, but to the resurrection instead.  Whilst others, e.g. John MacArthur, believe it was a "contingency prophecy" that would have come true if the Apostles found themselves under serious persecution and duress.
     Is Mathew 10:23 a verse in a category all its own, or are there others like it that point to larger and more serious issues, which many, steeped in futurist assumptions, are unwilling, unprepared or reluctant to face?  Comments on Matthew 10:23 is a small essay exploration of the connection between Matthew 10:23 and the surrounding milieu of the Second Jewish Commonwealth and the Ancient Near East, its overall meaning in light of the context of Matthew chapter 10 and its connection to more than 24 other "problematic" NT verses which seem to posit the Second Coming of our Lord squarely in a first century context.  This essay includes Q & A's about my motivation to even question the prevailing assumptions which hold sway in conventional Christian churches.
     Matthew 10:23, in reality, (I believe) is merely a door among many possible entries into the apocalyptic world of New Testament Christians.  And a focused observation of its implications is sure to prove both fascinating and intriguing to the devoted student of the Scriptures.  Shortly the entire article will be posted and I invite your thoughts on what ramifications these ideas may seem to hold for you.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, based on two facts (or some people might say two assumptions on my part).
    1) There are so many references to "soon" in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as the first verse in Revelation -speaking of things that are to happen "soon".
    2) I firmly believe that the bible was written in plain language for the people at the time to read and understand. That is, I do not believe that the bible has secret codes, meanings, etc meant for people 2000 years later...and effectively "fooling" the people reading/hearing it around the 33AD to 100 AD timeframe, with irrelevant information for them at that time.