By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
In Matthew 24:4-35, The Lord Jesus describes the future downfall of the city of Jerusalem.
All of these signs were fulfilled within the lifetime of those then living (Matthew 24:34).
It is at this point that Jesus begins addressing the Second Coming (Matthew 24:36-25:46).
While the events of the downfall of Jerusalem were preceded by many visible and discernible signs (cf. Matthew 24:4-34), the Second Coming of Christ would not be so.
Indeed, throughout the rest of Matthew 24 and 25, Jesus makes it clear on several occasions that there would be no signs given of His Second Advent (cf. Matthew 24:36-39, 42, 43-44, 45-51; 25:1-13).
While many claim that there are visible signs of the Return of Christ, The Lord Himself denied this.
Indeed, He makes it clear that His Return could be at any time: as such, we need to always be ready.
Yet there are some who teach that Jesus is still discussing the destruction of the Temple in Matthew 24:36-25:46.
Known as the doctrine of Realized Eschatology, this idea proclaims that the end of the world occurred when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Apparently the Second Coming happened at that time, as did the destruction of the world, the resurrection of the dead, the Day of Judgment, etc.
Yes, I am serious: there are people (well-meaning people) who believe in and teach these things.
While I am not going to provide a lengthy review of this doctrine here, I want to focus on a verses in Matthew 24 that clearly refutes this entire concept.
Notice with me:
Matthew 24:36-“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Please pay special attention to that phrase “but of that day and hour.”
Speaking of the meaning of this term, one scholar has noted the following:
“Let us now look at the evidence that Jesus is shifting his attention from the destruction of the temple in AD 70 to his second coming at the end of history. I will present more than a dozen arguments for the transition in Matthew 24….By all appearance Matthew 24:34 functions as a concluding statement; it seems to end the preceding prophecy: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Why would such a statement be inserted one-fourth of the way through the discourse if it were dealing in its entirety with events that were to occur in “this generation”? Such would not make sense. That would be like someone giving a speech, and after fifteen minutes saying, “In conclusion,” then continuing the speech for another forty-five minutes….Consequently, we must understand Matthew 24:34 as serving to close out one portion of the Discourse….In Matthew 24:36 we come upon an subject-matter transition device: “But of that day and hour no one knows.” The introductory phrase here in the Greek is: peri de (“but of, concerning, regarding”). This grammatical structure suggests a transition in the passage involving a change of subject. We may see this phrase frequently marking off new material, as in Matthew 22:31; Acts 21:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; and 5:1. Allow me to quickly focus on several very clear subject-transition uses of peri de in 1Corinthians. There we see that Paul is turning his attention to one question after another that the Corinthians asked him: “Now concerning the things about which you wrote” (1 Cor 7:1). “Now concerning virgins” (7:25). “Now concerning things sacrificed to idols” (8:1). “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren” (12:1). In each case he is clearly introducing new subjects that respond to different questions presented to him.” (Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Olivet Discourse Made Easy,: You CAN Understand Jesus’ Great Prophetic Discourse, 2449-2469 (Kindle Edition); Draper, Virginia; Apologetics Group Media).
As the above demonstrates, the Lord very clearly made a distinction between the destruction of Jerusalem and the Day of His Return with this transitional phrase.
This is also made evident by the fact that when discussing the destruction of Jerusalem, He used the phrase “those days” (Matthew 2419, :22, 29) but when He changes focus to the Second Coming He uses the phrase “that THE Day” (Matthew 24:36).
The doctrine that Christ’s Second Coming occurred in the destruction of Jerusalem in the year A.D. 70 is false.
His Second Coming will be evidenced by all, so that every people from every nation will stand before Him in Judgment (Matthew 24:32).
Will you be ready on that Day?
Jesus died to pay the price for your sins (1 Timothy 2:6). He was buried, and three days later, He arose (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Why not today, as a believer, repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38)?
If you are an erring child of God, why not today repent of your sins and pray to The Lord to be forgiven (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?
The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.