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Thread: Matthew 24:20 in a futurist paradigm

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    Matthew 24:20 in a futurist paradigm

    I tend to find preterism to be a rather non-intuitive way of interpreting Scripture, but there is one passage in particular that makes futurism very difficult for me...

    Matthew 24:20: "Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath."

    Since most Christians agree that rules that would prohibit movement on the Sabbath are no longer in effect, this would make little sense applied deep into the future. It's easy enough to understand this within a AD 70 paradigm; Craig Keener points out in his IVP Commentary that it was impossible to secure an animal for transport on the Sabbath in Jerusalem at that time.

    As best as I can tell, here are the possibilities I can think of that would preserve a futurist paradigm:

    1) This passage refers to AD 70 but switches to the end times later on (a sermon I heard on the Olivet discourse in church last month argued this, though the pastor used Mark 13, not Matthew 24).

    2) The Sabbath is, in fact, binding on Christians.

    3) This refers to Jews who will convert in the end times and who still choose to follow the Sabbath, sort of like how some Jewish Christians still saw circumcision as important in Paul's letters.

    Anything else I'm missing here?
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

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    Oops....... mossrose's Avatar
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    During the first half of the 7 year tribulation, the Antichrist will bring back the temple sacrifices and Jews will once again follow the law. During the second half of the "Great Tribulation" described in verses 15ff, the Jews will be persecuted and hunted and so Jesus warns them.

    Verses 21 ff describe the great tribulation and closely resemble the divine outpouring of God's wrath described in the bowl judgements of Rev. 16 and His subsequent appearing in Rev. 19.

    Of course, I believe that the rapture will remove the believers from the earth before any of this happens, so this passage can't be talking about Christians.


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    tWebber
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    Maybe there would be people who see themselves as Christians but are also following Jewish laws.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    I tend to find preterism to be a rather non-intuitive way of interpreting Scripture, but there is one passage in particular that makes futurism very difficult for me...

    Matthew 24:20: "Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath."

    Since most Christians agree that rules that would prohibit movement on the Sabbath are no longer in effect, this would make little sense applied deep into the future. It's easy enough to understand this within a AD 70 paradigm; Craig Keener points out in his IVP Commentary that it was impossible to secure an animal for transport on the Sabbath in Jerusalem at that time.

    As best as I can tell, here are the possibilities I can think of that would preserve a futurist paradigm:

    1) This passage refers to AD 70 but switches to the end times later on (a sermon I heard on the Olivet discourse in church last month argued this, though the pastor used Mark 13, not Matthew 24).

    2) The Sabbath is, in fact, binding on Christians.

    3) This refers to Jews who will convert in the end times and who still choose to follow the Sabbath, sort of like how some Jewish Christians still saw circumcision as important in Paul's letters.

    Anything else I'm missing here?
    A few options.

    Double fulfillment: Literal for the early Christians and figurative (hyperbole for a horrific time) for the later Christians.
    Double fulfillment: Literal for both the early and later Christians (who choose to live in Israel and for some reason follow Judaic practice).
    Double fulfillment: Literal for early Christians and literal for Jews who don't convert to Christianity at the time but for some reason are chosen for a specific task and convert later on.

    This is one of the "problems" of futurism that is the least of problems IMO. Who Gog and Magog is and the land of unwalled villages as mentioned in another thread is a far bigger problem.
    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

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    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    From a preterist perspective:

    In September, AD 66, six months before the 3-1/2 year Jewish War, the Roman general Cestius Gallus led an invasion against Jerusalem. The city at that time was occupied by the Zealots who threatened to kill anybody who looked like they would escape the city and flee to the Romans. When the Zealots fled to the lower part of the city, the people of the city quickly opened the northern gate of the temple courts and allowed Cestius Gallus and his army to enter. It is very likely he would have been accompanied by a squad of Roman soldiers, one of whom would be bearing the detested Roman Standard, the abomination of desolation.

    But early the next morning Gallus withdrew his army and returned to the camp. The Zealots quickly overtook the cumbersome Roman army, which found it necessary to abandon their heavy baggage. The Romans were ambushed as they fled through the narrow passages on the way to Beth Horon, about ten miles northwest of Jerusalem. Nearly 5,700 Roman soldiers were killed in their retreat. The Zealots later stripped the dead Roman soldiers of their armor, weapons and war machines which were left behind.

    With the full force of the Zealots in pursuit of Gallus, there was nobody to prevent a mass exodus from the city. Josephus describes the flight of some of the leaders of the city:

    After this catastrophe of Cestius many distinguished Jews abandoned the city as swimmers desert a sinking ship. Thus the brothers Costobar and Saul with Philip, son of Jacimus, prefect of king Agrippa’s army, fled from Jerusalem and joined Cestius. Josephus; War of the Jews; Book 2, Niese 2:513-34; Whiston ii.19.1-4)
    It was not only the “most eminent of the Jews” that fled the city. It was about seven years before this that James, the brother of the Lord and leader of the church in Jerusalem, stated that there were “many thousands” of believers among the Jews. (Acts 21:20) Tradition states that the Lord gave them visions, warning them to flee at once to the city of Pella, in the region of Decapolis in Perea, in the northern Jordan valley.

    Eusebius, the fourth century church historian gives us further insight on this escape:

    But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come thither from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men. (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii.5.3. Rev. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Ph.D., trans.; Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, ed.; Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol I. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890) 138)
    Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis on the island of Cyprus, lived around 315-403 AD. He wrote a large volume of work in he refutes more than eighty heresies of his time, named Panarion (Medicine Chest). The name suggests that in it lies the scriptural antidote to all poisons of the wild beasts of heresy. In Panarion we learn about a sect of Jewish Christians known as Nazoreans (or Nazarenes) dwelling around the region of Decapolis and Pella which had its roots in Jerusalem.

    Today this sect of the Nazoreans is found in Beroea near Coelesyria, in the Decapolis near Pella, and in Bashanitis at the place called Cocabe–Khokhabe in Hebrew. For that was its place of origin, since all the disciples had settled in Pella after they left Jerusalem–Christ told them to abandon Jerusalem and withdraw from it because of its coming siege. And they settled in Peraea for this reason and, as I said, spent their lives there. That was where the Nazorean sect began. (Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 29.7.7-8. Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis. (Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklije Brill,1987 & 1997) 118.)
    In another of his writings, Epiphanius writes:

    For when the city was about to be taken and destroyed by the Romans, it was revealed in advance to all the disciples by an angel of God that they should remove from the city, as it was going to be completely destroyed. (Epiphanius, De Mensuris et Ponderibus XV:3; James Elmer Dean, ed. and trans., Epiphanius’ Treatise on Weights and Measures: The Syriac Version; (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1935) 31.)
    That took place in October, AD 66, before the winter of AD 66-67. The Zealots returned, and blocked anybody wishing to escape the city, but allowing pilgrims to come and go.

    Once the spring of AD 70 arrived, multitudes of pilgrims filled the city for the Passover. As they did, Vespasian arrived with his army and encompassed the city, jut as Luke described:

    "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:20-24, NASB)
    From that point on until the final destruction of the temple and the city, there was no longer any escape.
    Last edited by Faber; 07-12-2019 at 05:47 PM.

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    tWebber
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    The written law was never set aside, though the oral one was. We must still observe the Sabbath. But there was never a written prohibition against travel. And the Lord Jesus traveled and did sacred work on the Sabbath and He fulfilled the law completely. But if the flight were in winter, that means it would be difficult, not disallowed. Similarly, if the flight is on the Sabbath, it will be more difficult because normal business/communication is shutdown, not disallowed.

    But also double fulfillment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darfius View Post
    The written law was never set aside, though the oral one was. We must still observe the Sabbath. But there was never a written prohibition against travel. And the Lord Jesus traveled and did sacred work on the Sabbath and He fulfilled the law completely. But if the flight were in winter, that means it would be difficult, not disallowed. Similarly, if the flight is on the Sabbath, it will be more difficult because normal business/communication is shutdown, not disallowed.

    But also double fulfillment.
    Right. I mentioned about people who call themselves Christians but still see some reason to follow Jewish laws. But you may have missed the longer discussion on your perspective in the theology 201 section.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    Right. I mentioned about people who call themselves Christians but still see some reason to follow Jewish laws. But you may have missed the longer discussion on your perspective in the theology 201 section.
    The "Jewish laws" you are referring to are the oral tradition. The written laws were and are for all of God's people.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darfius View Post
    The "Jewish laws" you are referring to are the oral tradition. The written laws were and are for all of God's people.
    I mean all of the laws including the Law of Moses were designated for the Jewish people. So, I had already covered the type of people you were stating as a 'different' group

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    I mean all of the laws including the Law of Moses were designated for the Jewish people. So, I had already covered the type of people you were stating as a 'different' group
    The "Jewish" people were only the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and some of Levi, so you are already incorrect. But Jesus said verbatim that He did not come to set the law aside and that not one jot or tittle would pass away. So shall I believe the Lord Jesus or "mikewhitney?"

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