The Case for the Preterist Reading of Matthew 24

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Abstract: The Olivet Discourse given by Yahushua in Matthew 24-25 has been the source of much speculation regarding the end times and when Yahushua said he would return. In this paper, I will make a case that the things Yahushua prophesied in Matthew 24-25 are not prophesies of things to occur in our future, but rather, these things were fulfilled from 64 A.D to 70 A.D.

Interpretive Key #1: Prediction Of The Temple’s Destruction

The first key to interpreting this passage is to notice that Yahushua is responding to questions posed by His disciples. In verses 1-3, Yahushua and the disciples were leaving the temple, and the disciples were marveling over the grandeur of the temple’s size. Yahushua told them that the massive temple they were admiring over would be destroyed at some point in the future to such an extent that not a single stone would be left standing upon another. It isn’t hard to imagine yahushua-and-his-disciplesthat the disciples would be in shock upon hearing this sudden forecast that the very center of their religion and national identity would be obliterated, so they naturally asked the question, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

The verses that proceed answer the question of when the temple's destruction would occur and what the sign of Yahushua’s coming and the end of the age would be. The “sign of your coming” and “the end of the age” have been widely misunderstood in the eschatological circle. This is probably why dispensationalists view these prophecies as far future. I will explain what the coming of Christ and the end of the age means later in this paper. For now, we should note that it would be pretty bizarre for Yahushua to ignore the disciple’s question and go on to predict something to happen in the far future that has nothing to do with his radical prediction.

Interpretive Key #2: “You”, Not “They

The second key to understanding this prophetic text is understanding who Yahushua was directing his words. Did Yahushua have a 21st, 22nd, 23rd, or 24th-century audience in mind, or did He have His first-century Jewish audience in mind? Who was Yahushua talking to?

“Yahushua answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24: 4-8.

“See to it that no one deceives YOU.”

Notice the second-person pronoun “you” is used repeatedly. “See to it that no one deceives YOU.”YOU will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see it to it that YOU are not alarmed.” “Then YOU will be handed over to be persecuted,” etc. You, you, you, you.

When Christians read the prophecy, they tend to assume that Yahushua was referring to a distant generation thousands of years later. Therefore, they read his statements as if he were speaking to us or our near-future brethren in Christ. However, if Yahushua was foretelling things to occur in a generation thousands and thousands of years later, why didn’t Yahushua use the word “they” instead of “you”? The fact that Yahushua repeatedly says “you” instead of “they” strongly indicates that Yahushua had His first-century disciples in mind rather than some future generation of Christians. Whenever someone is speaking to “you” and uses the word “you,” you naturally assume that they’re talking to and about “you,” not your great-grandchildren.

As Brian Godawa put it in his book End Times Bible Prophesy: It’s Not What They Told You, “Imagine how confused the disciples would think that Yahushua was talking to them when he meant someone else. Truly, I say to you, dear reader of this article, imagine sitting in a sermon at church where a pastor keeps speaking to you, but he does not mean you, but rather another future generation of Christians. You would certainly look around and wonder, Why is he saying ‘you’ as if he is speaking to us? Why isn’t he saying ‘they?’ So the context of the entire discourse speaks to those listening to him: you, not they.”

When Yahushua said, ‘Woe to you scribes and Pharisees’ (23:29), he meant the scribes and Pharisees listening to his sermon, not a future generation of scribes and Pharisees. When he said, ‘You see all these’ buildings and temples (24:2), he was talking to his disciples, not a distant generation of disciples. His entire discourse contains over forty references to “you”—forty! Suppose literalists pride themselves on taking prophecies literally. In that case, they must be pretty uncomfortable when they twist the obvious, literal referents of Yahushua’s words to be figuratively applied to someone else thousands of years later.

Of course, one may point out that there were many times Yahushua employed the word “you,” but he didn’t just mean his first-century listeners. For example, The Sermon On The Mount is filled with instances of “you”. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you for example. The futurist may object that if the second person plural in The Olivet Discourse precludes a later generation, then by this same reasoning, we can ignore everything Yahushua said in his teachings unless he employed third-person terminology. Since Yahushua said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” I am not obligated to obey that, and it’s okay to hate my enemies, right? He only meant the people sitting in His audience at the time, right?

The problem with this objection is that The Sermon On The Mount and Yahushua’s Olivet Discourse are two entirely different monologues. In the former, Yahushua’s sermon had to do with moral living, how the people of Yahuwah are to conduct themselves. In the latter, Yahushua was responding to a particular question posed by a specific group of people regarding a special event and the exact timing of that event. Indeed, Yahushua’s Sermon on The Mount applies to the modern Christian. Nevertheless, while Yahushua’s teachings were for all generations, he still spoke to his first-century audience. The New Testament epistles likewise are for all generations but are written to particular churches.

Interpretive Key #3: “This Generation”

At the end of Yahushua’s discourse, He says, “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (verse 34). The plain meaning of this verse is that the generation Yahushua was speaking to, the people living at the time he gave The Olivet Discourse, would not pass away until everything he prophesied was fulfilled.

Those who hold to Dispensationalism try to reinterpret the meaning of the phrase “this generation” so that this prophecy doesn’t have to refer to the first-century generation. Many dispensationalists will argue that “generation” means “race of the Jews.” Jewish people would not go out of existence until all of the prophecies had been fulfilled, and since the Jews are still around to this day, then Yahushua’s prophecies could still have a future fulfillment. Other dispensationalists will say that by “this generation,” Yahushua didn’t mean His contemporaries but a future generation. He said the future generation that would see these signs would not pass away. That future generation could be ours or a generation future to ours.

I don’t find either of these interpretations of “this generation” tenable. Regarding the first dispensationalist interpretation, my problem is that the Greek word in this text translated as “generation” is genea. According to The Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon, “The expression ‘the people of this generation’ may also be expressed as ‘the people living now’ or ‘the people of this time.” It doesn’t mean “The Jewish Race” anywhere in The New Testament.

In his book Matthew 24 Fulfilled, Brian Godawa lists 14 places in which “this generation” (genea in Greek) is used, and not once does it refer to simply the Jewish race. Let’s take a look at a few of those examples.

Matthew 11:16 (cf. Luke 7:31) “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates.”

Matthew 12:39 (cf. Mark 8:12; Luke 11:29): An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

Matthew 12:41 (cf. Luke 11:32): “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

Matthew 12:42 (cf. Luke 11:31): “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”

Luke 11:50-52 “so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.”

In every single one of these instances of genea [“this generation”], Yahushua meant the people living at the time.

In every single one of these instances of genea, Yahushua meant the people living at the time. I don’t know of any Bible scholar who would take any one of these instances as referring to the race of Jews for the plain fact that these just can’t be applied to any generation beyond the first. For example, in Matthew 12:39, Yahushua said that a wicked generation asks for a sign but that no sign would be given to it other than the sign of Jonah. As the next verse tells us, the Sign of Jonah was Yahushua’s death and resurrection. “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40). Yahushua wasn’t raised from the dead in the twenty-first century! He was raised in the first century! Mark 9 is the account of Yahushua casting out a demon from a boy after his disciples failed to do so because they didn’t fast and pray enough beforehand. This is the context in which we find Yahushua’s words : “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” Is Yahushua lamenting the Jewish race? How does that make any sense?

As Bible scholar Gary DeMar put it; “Those who deny that ‘this generation’ refers to the generation to whom Yahushua was speaking in the Matthew 24 context must maintain that ‘this generation’ means something different from the way it is used in other places in Matthew and the rest of the New Testament!”1

DeMar also wrote, “There is a logical problem if genea is translated ‘race.’ Since ‘race’ is a reference to the Jewish race, Matthew 24:34 would read this way: ‘This Jewish race will not pass away until all these things take place. When all these things take place, then the Jewish race will pass away.’ This doesn’t make any sense.”2

Had Yahushua been referring to the Jewish race, he would have used the Greek word genes (“race”) rather than genea (“generation”).8

Okay, so interpreting genea to mean the Jewish race is untenable, but what about the second possible futurist interpretation? What if “this generation” refers to the generation who would see the signs come to pass whenever that generation might live? I think the first two interpretive keys we looked at in this paper dismantle the plausibility of this interpretation. First, remember that the whole discourse is in response to the disciples’ questions: “When will these things [i.e., the destruction of the temple] come to pass?” and “What will be the sign of your coming?” Yahushua’s response is loaded with the second person pronoun “you” rather than “they,” strongly indicating he meant the people He was speaking to! Finally, just as I would have expected Yahushua to use the word “they” instead of “you” if He were referring to a future generation of Christians, I likewise would have expected to use the phrase “that generation” instead of “this generation.” The whole grammatical structure of The Olivet Discourse suggests that Yahushua had the first-century generation in mind rather than a later generation.

These 3 interpretive keys strongly indicate that Yahushua expected His prophecies to be fulfilled before the close of the first century. I concur with Thomas Newton who said, “It is to me a wonder how any man can refer part of the foregoing discourse to the destruction of Jerusalem, and part to the end of the world, or any other distant event, when it is said so positively here in the conclusion, All these things shall be fulfilled in this generation.”3

A Look At The Specific Prophesies

Now that we’ve determined the time frame that Yahushua expected His prophecies to pass, let’s examine the specific things Yahushua predicted and whether these occurred. I won’t provide as much commentary as I have thus far to keep this article from being lengthier than it has to be. Instead, I will, for the most part, simply cite Yahushua’s prediction followed by a citation of a historical source that records its fulfillment.

Wars and Rumors Of Wars:

Prediction: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (verse 6)

Fulfillment: This prophecy is significant in signaling the sign of the destruction of Jerusalem and Yahushua’s coming because, at this point, Rome was experiencing unprecedented peace known as “Pax Romana,” which means “the peace of Rome.” The world has always had wars and rumors of wars, so this prophecy of Yahushua would be generic, ambiguous, and irrelevant at any other historical period except for the first century, during this “time of peace.”

In Histories 5.9, Tacitus wrote, “Under Tiberius, things were quiet…” (Tiberius’ reign, AD 14- 37). In his Histories 1.2 (January – March, A.D. 69), Tacitus wrote, “The history on which I am entering is that of a period rich in disasters, terrible with battles, torn by civil struggles, horrible even in peace. Four emperors fell by the sword; there were three civil wars, more foreign wars, and often both simultaneously. There was success in the East and misfortune in the West. Illyricum was disturbed, the Gallic provinces wavering, and Britain subdued and immediately let go. The Sarmatae and Suebi rose against us; the Dacians won fame by defeats inflicted and suffered; even the Parthians were almost roused to arms through the trickery of a pretended Nero. Moreover, Italy was distressed by disasters unknown before or returning after the lapse of ages. Cities on Campania's rich, fertile shores were swallowed up or overwhelmed; Rome was devastated by conflagrations, in which her most ancient shrines were consumed and the very Capitol fired by citizens’ hands. Sacred rites were defiled; there were adulteries in high places. The sea was filled with exiles, its cliffs made foul with the bodies of the dead.”

(Tacitus, Annals, pg 271) — “In this year, war broke out between the Armenians and the Iberians…”

Jospehus, in his Wars 4:9:2 2. wrote “Now as Vespasian was returned to Cesarea, and was getting ready with all his army to march directly to Jerusalem, he was informed that Nero was dead…civil war; – I have omitted to give an exact account of them, because they are well known by all, and they are described by a great number of Greek and Roman authors; yet for the sake of the connexion of matters, and that my history may not be incoherent, I have just touched upon everything briefly.”

Famines and Earthquakes:

Prediction: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (verse 7)

Fulfillment: A Great Famine in the days of Claudius:

Acts 11:27-29 — “Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, Agabus, stood up and {began} to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine worldwide. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.”

Josephus, Wars 6.299-300 (6:6:7) — “Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.”

Josephus, Wars 4.286-287 (4:4:5) (286) “for there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and powerful winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continual lightning, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake. (287) These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men when the world system was put into this disorder, and anyone would guess that these wonders foreshowed some grand calamities that were coming.”

Tacitus, The Annals, 12.43, “This year witnessed many prodigies [signs and omens]…. repeated earthquakes… further portents were seen in a shortage of corn, resulting in famine… it was established that there was no more than fifteen days supply of food in the city [Rome]. Only Heaven’s special favor and a mild winter prevented a catastrophe.”

The Persecution Of Christians:

Prediction: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” (verse 9)


“And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” – Acts 8:1

“About that time King Herod laid hands on some from the church to harm them.” – Acts 12:1

“Now while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews attacked Paul together and brought him before the judgment seat,” – Acts 18:12



Eusebius, ECC. Histories 2:9

“[1] Now about that time” (it is clear that 1 he means the time of Claudius) “Herod the King[2] stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” And 2 concerning this James, Clement, in the seventh book of his Hypotyposes,[3] relates a story which is worthy of mention; telling it as he received it from those who had lived before him. He says that the one who led James to the judgment-seat, when he saw him bearing his testimony, was moved, and confessed that he was himself also a Christian. They were both therefore, he says, led away together; and on the way he begged James to forgive him. And he, after considering a little, said, “Peace be with thee,” and kissed him. And thus they were both beheaded at the same time. 4 And then, as the divine Scripture says,[4] Herod, upon the death of James, seeing that the deed pleased the Jews, attacked Peter also and committed him to prison,”


Prediction: “At that time, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,” (Verse 10)

Fulfillment: See 2 Thessalonians 2:2, Revelation 3:14, Romans 16:17-18, Acts 15:1, Acts 20:29, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Philippians 3:2, Galatians 1:6, 1 Timothy 1:18, 1 Timothy 3:5, 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 1:15, 2 Timothy 2:16.

False Prophets:

Prediction: “And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (verse 11)

Fulfillment: See Acts 8:9, Acts 13:6, Acts 20:29, 2 Timothy 3:1, Revelation 2:2, Revelation 2:14, Revelation 2:20, 2 Corinthians 11:12, 1 John 2:18, 1 John 4:1

Eusebius, History of the Church, 2:13 1

“Christ having now been diffused among all men,[2] the enemy of man’s salvation contrived a plan for seizing the imperial city for himself. He conducted thither the Simon mentioned above,[3] aided him in his deceitful arts, led many of the inhabitants of Rome astray, and thus brought them into his power. This is 2 stated by Justin,[4] one of our distinguished writers who lived not long after the time of the apostles. Concerning him, I shall speak in the proper place.[5] Take and read the work of this man, who in the first Apology[6], which he addressed to Antonine on behalf of our religion, writes 3 as follows:[7] “And after the ascension of the Lord into heaven the demons put forward certain men who said they were Yahuwahs, and who were not only allowed by you to go unprosecuted but were even deemed worthy of honors. One of them was Simon, a Samaritan of the village of Gitto,[8] who in the reign of Claudius C’sar[4] performed in your imperial city some mighty acts of magic by the art of demons operating in him, and was considered a Yahuwah,”

The Gospel Preached To The Whole World:

Prediction: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (verses 12-14)

This is one of the arguments dispensationalists/futurists/Left-Behinders give against the preterist reading of Yahushua’s Olivet Discourse. Yahushua says that the gospel must first be preached worldwide as a testimony to all nations before the end comes. They argue that didn’t happen in the first century. Indeed, it still hasn’t even happened today. Even today, some groups of people have never heard the gospel. So, how could I possibly say the prophecy was fulfilled in the first century?

I think the first thing I must point out is that the Greek phrase translated as “the whole world” is Oikoumene. This phrase is used numerous times in The New Testament. Whenever it is used, it does not mean the entire population of humans. Instead, it means the Roman World or the nations they knew then. For example, Luke 2:1 says, “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world [oikoumene] should be registered. No one thinks Caesar Augustus required a census from the people of Japan, China, or the peoples of the North American continent. It was simply “The Roman World” that was required to register for the census.

1. the inhabited earth;
a. in Greek writings, often the portion of the earth inhabited by the Greeks, in distinction from the lands of the barbarians, cf. Passow, ii., p. 415a; (Liddell and Scott, under the word, I.).
b. in the Greek authors who wrote about Roman affairs (like the Latinorbis terrarum) equivalent to the Roman empire: so πᾶσα ἡ οἰκουμένη contextually equivalent to all the subjects of this empire, Luke 2:1.”

Had Yahushua indicated that the gospel would be preached worldwide, He would have used a different Greek word: Kosmos. Kosmos is the word that Greek speakers would use whenever they wanted to refer to either the entire world, Earth, or the entire universe.

So, when Yahushua said the gospel would be preached throughout “the whole world,” he did not mean the entire world. He suggested the entire Roman Empire. Had Yahushua indicated that the gospel would be preached worldwide, He would have used a different Greek word: Kosmos. Kosmos is the word that Greek speakers would use whenever they wanted to refer to either the entire world, Earth, or the entire universe. This is where we get our English word Cosmos. This word is used in John 1:10: “He was in the world [kosmos], and the world [kosmos] was made through him, yet the world [kosmos] did not know him.” Yahushua didn’t just create the Roman Empire. Yahushua created the entire universe! This is why John uses kosmos and not oikoumene. Kosmos is also used in passages such as John 3:16, John 3:17, 1 John 2:2, and Revelation 17:8.

Now that we know that the “whole world” in Matthew 24 does not mean the entire world let’s see if this was fulfilled in the first century. Was the gospel preached throughout the whole Roman Empire before 70 AD?

Fulfillment: In Romans 1:8, The Apostle Paul wrote: “because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” The Greek word Paul uses in Romans 1:8, translated as “the whole world,” is the same Greek word that Yahushua employed in Matthew 24:14 (i.e., oikumene). According to Paul, the gospel had spread to the oikumene in his lifetime! This is not the only place that Paul says this. In 1 Timothy 3:16, he says, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”

The Abomination Of Desolation:

Prediction: “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!” (verses 15-19)

Brian Godawa said that “The Abomination of Desolation standing in the holy place was one of three things: 1) The pagan Roman leader, Titus and his Army surrounding Jerusalem, 2) the irreligious Zealots entering the temple, 3) The pagan Edomites desecrating the temple.”6


Titus-destroying-JerusalemTitus surrounding Jerusalem

Based on Luke’s parallel account of The Olivet Discourse in chapter 21 of his gospel, I think it is most likely the first option. In Luke’s account, Yahushua said, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Luke 21:20-21).

One only needs to read Josephus’ War Of The Jews to see this fulfillment.

Tribulation Never To Be Equaled Again:

Prediction: “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” (verse 21)

Futurists argue that the great tribulation had not occurred yet, since we have not seen a period of persecution that “has not been from the beginning of the world, until now, no and never will be.” As Hal Lindsey, author of the Left Behind series, argues, that would have to be so unbelievably horrible that nothing could be worse. However, if we take Yahushua’s words to mean that nothing could be worse than the great tribulation, we would have to conclude that The Bible contradicts itself. Why? In 587-586 B.C., Babylon invaded Israel, besieged Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and sent most of the Jews into exile. In Ezekiel 5:9, Yahuwah said: “And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again.” Daniel echoed these exact words of the Babylonian exile. Daniel 9:12: “He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven, there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem.” So both Daniel and Ezekiel used the same language that Yahushua used: “There has not been done anything like it” and “Never again” will it be done. And they were both talking about a foreign enemy destroying Jerusalem.

Astronomical Upheaval?

There are plenty of predictions in Matthew 24 we could look at concerning what Yahushua said and how they were fulfilled, but for the sake of length, I’d like to skip from verse 21 to verse 29, where Yahushua says “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘The sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”

Futurists or Left-Behinders argue that this can’t possibly be a reference to something that occurred in the past. After all, the sun wasn’t darkened in the first century, the moon didn’t stop giving its light, and the stars didn’t fall from the sky. If even one star had fallen to Earth in the first century, the whole world would have been incinerated, and life in this world would have been annihilated!

The theologian John Owen points out that this language is metaphorical. He wrote “Not to hold you too long upon what is so plain and evident, you may take it for a rule, that, in the denunciations of the judgments of Yahuwah, through all the prophets, heaven, sun, moon, stars, and the like appearing beauties and glories of the aspectable heavens, are taken for governments, governors, dominions in political states, as Isa. 14:12-15; Jer 15:9, 51:25. Isaiah 13:13; Ps. 68:6; Joel 2:10; Rev. 8:12; Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25; Isa 60:20; Obad. 4; Rev 8:13; 11:12; 20:11.”7

Notice the verses that Owen refers to. Some of these are Old Testament prophesies of judgment given by Yahuwah upon wicked people. Let’s look at Isaiah 13, for example. “I have commanded my consecrated ones and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proudly exulting ones. The sound of a tumult is on the mountains as of a great multitude! The sound of an uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together! The Lord of hosts is mustering a host for battle. They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the Lord and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; as destruction from the Almighty[c] it will come! Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt. They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.

They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame. Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.

The Coming Of The Son Of Man?

We now come to the most controversial prophecy of all. “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.”

Yahushua certainly did come back in the first century, right? After all, if Yahushua had come on the clouds of Heaven with all the people of the Earth mourning, that certainly would have gotten the attention of first-century historians, right? What do you think “The Son Of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” means? Most people (including myself) believed that Yahushua said He would appear in the sky on top of clouds, as many artistic depictions of the second coming show (usually riding a white horse).

Now, as I’ll explain near the end of this article, I think Yahushua is coming again in a fashion like that, but I don’t think that’s what Yahushua was saying in Matthew 24. I believe the second coming and the coming of Matthew 24 are two entirely separate events, the latter having been fulfilled in 70 AD. Let me explain why.

Christ’s “coming on the clouds” draws heavily from Old Testament portrayals of Yahuwah descending from heaven to execute judgment. These judgments were acts of Yahuwah described in figurative language since no one saw Yahuwah as a humanoid figure “cloud surfing” in the sky when these judgments happened.

Numbers 11:25 “And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. ” (KJV)

Psalm 18:9-12 “He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.” (KJV)

Isaiah 19:1 ” The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.” (KJV)

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.” (KJV)

Nahum 1:3 “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” (KJV)

I submit that Yahushua’s “coming on the clouds” in the Olivet Discourse is the same kind of “coming” as Yahuwah did in these various Old Testament passages. Yahushua could “come” in judgment upon Jerusalem without having to be literally in the sky on top of clouds where everyone could see him with their eyes.


Why would Yahushua come to Jerusalem in judgment? Because “He came to His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11, KJV).


Yahushua is a true prophet. That generation did not pass away before everything He predicted came to pass.

This is why Yahushua wept in Luke 19; because the Jewish people rejected Yahushua as their Messiah, and now He would have to judge them through the Roman army.

Does this mean that there is no future coming of Christ?

Not at all! While full preterists would say this, I would not. I am a partial preterist. While I think the entirety of Matthew 24 (as well as the majority of the book of Revelation) was fulfilled in the first century, I think there are still a few prophecies in scripture that have yet to be fulfilled. I think there will indeed be a physical, visible second coming of Christ that will coincide with Christians' rapture and bodily resurrection. I just don’t think Matthew 24 is about that.


Yahushua is a true prophet. That generation did not pass away before everything He predicted came to pass.




1: Gary DeMar, “Last Days Madness”, Wolgemuth & Hyatt Pub; page 33

2: Gary DeMar, from the online article “Norman Geisler and ‘This Generation'”, 2007

3: See “Norman Geisler and ‘This Generation'” By Gary DeMar, 2007

4: Thomas Newton, “Dissertations on the Prophecies Which Have Remarkably Been Fulfilled” (1754).

5: Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, “STRONGS NT 3625: οἰκουμένη” as cited on

6: Godawa, Brian. Matthew 24 Fulfilled: Biblical and Historical Sources (Kindle Locations 1241-1242). Embedded Pictures Publishing. Kindle Edition.

7: John Owen, (vol. 8, p. 255, in a sermon entitled Shaking and Translating of Heaven and Earth, preached on April 19, 1649)

This is a non-WLC article by Evan Minton. (A condensed version.)

We have taken out from the original article all pagan names and titles of the Father and Son, and have replaced them with the original given names. Furthermore, we have restored in the Scriptures quoted the names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible. -WLC Team