"Yeshua went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His talmidim came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, 'Don't you see all of these things? Most assuredly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down.' As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the talmidim came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age'?" Matthew 24:1-3
The Coming of Messiah
Part Three: Yeshua's Prophecy - Matthew 24:1-30
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
This discussion will be aimed at Yeshua's prophecy found in Matthew 24 (click on highlighted words to view content) which most read as having its placement in some future event when, in fact, by reading these words from the Hebraic perspective they were written from - give us an entirely different meaning. When we consider that every letter of every book in the Book (including all the prophecies of Yeshua) were written by Hebrews from a Hebrew perspective formed out of a Hebrew mindset that was influenced by Hebrew culture and were addressed primarily to a Hebrew audience which understood the nuances of the Hebrew language, then we find these words take on a context different from those of our contemporary culture. Context, context, context. To properly understand the words of scripture, we must always consider the context they are presented in, the context of the Hebrew perspective they are presented from and the audience they are presented to. The first two verses of Matthew 24 present the context Yeshua's subsequent remarks are encased in - His prophecy of the destruction of the Temple which occurred in 70 CE (after the Messianic Letters were written). Looking at the whole historic context, we find Yeshua was answering the question posed to Him by the disciples by speaking to the end of an "age" - not the end of the world. He was speaking to the end of the physical Temple era (verses 1-2). All of this prophecy was fulfilled when the Roman legions re-entered Yerushalyiem in 70 CE. The Temple caught fire in this final siege, melting all the gold adorning it and causing it to pool in the crevices of the flooring. The Roman commander, Titus, gave his troops permission to keep whatever gold they could find. Consequently, in their lust they literally unearthed every stone in the Temple, thus fulfilling Yeshua's prophecy of Matthew 24:2. "There will not be left here one stone upon another..." - and placing a shadow over what "wall" is actually being worshipped at today at the Temple Mount. Yeshua's prophecy was spoken to Hebrews to be on the lookout for this imminent event - not to some future event happening to Gentiles thousands of years later. In the same manner, the book of Revelation is written to Hebrews about the coming destruction to Hebrews - not to the world. Remember, there were no "Christians" around when any of these words were written. That religion did not exist for another 200-250 years - giving no credence to a fabricated Christian "end-time" theology in spite of the popularity it has acquired.
The audience receiving His remarks that day were His Hebrew disciples who frequented that Temple, thus, His comment to "pray your flight be not on the Sabbath" was made alongside other warnings of imminent doom - all of which made perfect sense to those Hebrews hearing them. To comprehend the immensity of that doom for us, today, is unimaginable. The Temple was the absolute center of Hebrew life in their day. For us, it would be comparable to Washington DC and everyone in it being leveled in a single day. Imagine, if you can, the ripple effect of that chaos spreading into the fabric of our everyday lives. Everything Yeshua mentioned up to and including verse 28 in Matthew 24 came to pass with the destruction of the Temple. Not understanding the Hebraic context of this prophecy, however, has led many to assume that the Greek word, aetos (translated "eagles" in Matthew 24:28) is a mistake of some kind and really means something on the order of a vulture since eagles do not usually go in quest of carrion. The context becomes simple to understand, however, when considering that the eagle was the standard image used by the Roman military.
|"But immediately after the oppression of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken..." Matthew 24:29|
Verse 29 begins with "...immediately after the oppression of those days..." What "days" is He referring to? The ones He was just speaking of - the destruction of the Temple. Thus, His subsequent remarks through verse 31 can be taken in the context of the period immediately following the destruction of the Temple. He goes on to say, "...the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken." This string of words can be found throughout the Tanakh (OT) describing and pointing to this particular event (Isaiah 13:10; 24:23; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15; Amos 5:20) but, specifically, what is curious is that these were the same words Peter used in Acts 2:14-21 (quoting Joel 2:28-32) to describe the happening on Yom Shavu'ot (Day of Pentecost). So, what exactly could these words be describing?
Since Yeshua was Hebrew, there are three things we must remember about Hebrew prophecy. First, since all of the books of the Book were written by Hebrews and were directed to a Hebrew audience, all prophecy in the Book is about and concerning the Hebrew people, not "the world" or "civilization" - and that includes the book of Revelation. Secondly, most Hebrew prophecy is intended to never come true. That is to say, most Hebrew prophecy is conditional. It is warning, not a prediction. When men change their ways, YHVH changes His mind (Jonah 3). Nothing in this type of prophecy is cast in stone. Finally, and probably most importantly, Hebrew prophecy is "rear view mirror" commentary. After the event is over, as it was with the coming of the Son, then you know what happened. When Yeshua came, every single prophecy written about that event came to pass - but, nobody saw it as it was unfolding before them until after it was over and they were granted understanding (Luke 24:45). It is looking at the past with perfect hindsight. Before the lightning strikes, we can't predict from where and when it will come, but after it strikes there is no doubt that it did come. So, what does history tell us happened to the Hebrew family of Jacob (renamed "Israel")
The English word translated as "power" in this verse comes from the Greek word dynamis which is described in Thayer's Lexicon as "inherent power; the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature" and is the same Greek word translated as the English word "virtue" found in Mark 5:30 (see Virtue). It is from the nature of a thing that its power is derived. Yeshua said in John 14:12 that "...greater works..." than He did will be accomplished by those who abide in Him - i.e., whereas He was one vessel now there are many (John 17:20-21). But, He also said that this shift in power is restricted only to those who embrace Him as the Messiah to Israel (John 14:6), - meaning there is no more ethnicity where YHVH's Kingdom is concerned.
"Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man.
Then all the tribes of the eretz will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."|
"Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man..." This has a significant meaning often overlooked because He is not talking about a physical sighting, but His "sign". The English word translated as "sign" comes from the Greek, semeion, which is frequently misunderstood to mean a miracle - like signs and wonders as something externally visible. The primary definition of this Greek word, however, more accurately correlates to being a signature token on the order of the Signet spoken of in the Kinsman Redeemer series of articles - "proof of identity, identifying characteristics, a pattern of events or phenomenon that identifies a point in time, a token that can be used for identity or proof". Therefore, semeion in this passage describes a set of events and phenomenon that would occur where the characteristics are so compelling, unique and identifying that as to make it impossible to deny the identity or purpose or concept of "the son of man". The literal translation of "...and then all the tribes of the Land will mourn..." reads, "all the-ones tribings of-the-one of-a-soil", i.e., the 12 tribes (phyle - meaning "kindred") of the Land (ge) of Israel will mourn because they have been removed (a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10-12). "...and they will see the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" which is rendered literally in the Greek as "to-coming upon of-the-ones of-cloudings". As previously discussed in the article, the Ascension, scripture frequently refers to "a cloud of witnesses" as being people. While the English word translated "cloud" in Exodus 13:21 comes from the Hebrew word 'anan and is used of the cloud which led the Israelites in the wilderness (more like a fog than a cloud of shape and form in the sky), it is also used of a vast contingent of people as a "covering for the Land" in Ezekiel 38:9. Paul carries forward this Hebrew simile with his usage of the Greek nephos in reference to a "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 12:1 - a dense multitude, a throng.
In the passage from Acts 1:9-11, the English versions do not say He "ascended" into heaven, they say He went "up" - but, what does "up" really mean? In verse 9, the two words translated to English as "lifted or taken up" come from the single Greek word epairo meaning "to raise on high - as in to exalt ". In verse 10, the two English words "went up" come from the single Greek word poreuo, meaning "to lead over, carry over, transfer a) to pursue the journey on which one has entered, to continue on one's journey b) to depart". In verse 11, the two English words "gazing up" come from the single Greek word emblepo, and means "to turn one's eyes on, to look at". Also in verse 11 the two English words "taken up" come from the single Greek word analambano meaning "to take up (a thing in order to carry or use it)". If we are to get a clear understanding of what is actually being conveyed through these words, it is important to notice that not any of these definitions have any association with a physical direction. So, then - where did He go?
This type of non-directional use of the word "up" in the Greek language is similar to usage found in 2Corinthians 12:2 where Paul says he was caught "up" into the third heaven. The two English words "caught up" in this verse come from the single Greek word harpazo meaning "to seize, carry off by force 2) to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly 3) to snatch out or away" - again, non-directional. This is the same Greek word used in the description of how Philip was "caught up or away" in Acts 8:39. They were both "caught away" into another dimension.
Part One: Daniel 9
Part Two: Ezekiel's Temple
Part Three: Matthew 24:1-30
Part Four: Matthew 24:30-51
Part Five: Questions and Answers
|"Herein (by this) is our love made perfect, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment: because just as He is, even so are we in this world." 1John 4:17|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.