The Olivet Discourse – Immediately Means Immediately

10May11

Alright! This is where the fun stuff starts!

Now we progress to the ever popular and graphic language of verses 29 through 3 of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24. We will be spending quite a bit of time with these verses as they deserve our serious attention. Also, since the very first post of this blog stated, this is a remedial course. The goal is not only to convince the reader to take a different look at the Discourse, but to try and remove the previous learned and presupposed ideas already included in the readers eschatology.

The verses in question have ingrained into so much of the American psyche that we must spend the necessary time dealing with our preconceptions as well as with gaining a new understanding. I appreciate the patience of the reader as we examine these issues.

Matt 24: 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

We must first note here that many, including some preterist, try and argue that there is a shift here from the 70AD events to some future events that would include the Second Coming of Christ. There are a few very obvious problems that I hope the reader may notice on their own.

  • This clearly falls before the “all things” that must take place within this generation
  • There is no break in the subject matter allowing for a change in topic
  • This sections starts with the term “immediately”

Note that the first phrase in the passage above is in bold. That first phrase clearly shows that whatever is to follow takes place immediately after the previous events. And immediately means immediately! Matthew uses the word immediately thirteen other times (Matt 3:14, 4:20, 4:22, 8:13, 13:5, 13:20, 13:21, 14:22, 14:27, 14:31, 20:34, 21:2, 26:74) and in every instance it refers to things which immediately follow another. There is no gap of time, especially one of thousands of years.

So whatever is to follow must follow immediately after the events previously described and as we have seen all of the previous events fit well within the allotted time frame of this generation. So, we must conclude that what is to follow must do the same, especially since it also precedes the declaration of “this generation.”

Some have argued that the best to read that opening phrase would be something akin to “As a result of the tribulation of those days.” This actually will make some sense as the events that follow picture the results of the tribulation that had just occurred. Whether that is the best way to read that statement what remains true is the immediacy of the following events and results.

This is great contrast to the previous warnings and how “the end” was not an immediate expectation…

Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

Luke 21:9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

Now we have some closure to the events and the results of those events and how they impact the city and Temple. This may also be a clear indication of the “end of the age” as previously discussed and hinted at in Hebrews where one covenant is fading out as the new one is taking over. This tribulation described previously and the results which are to follow answer the “end of the age” question as we hopefully will see in the coming posts.

In the next post we will discuss the imagery found in the “signs in the heavens” and how those terms have been used previously in the Bible.

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