Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Matthew 20-25

20.15  begrudge my generosity...  Being able to rejoice at another's good fortune, even when it passes you by, is a blessing.
20.22  We are able...  Three dangerous words (esp. in this context).
20.32  What do you want me to do for you?  Boy we sure do have some really shallow and bone headed responses to this question many times.
21.16  You have prepared praise...  That is an interesting remark to think about.  God's election, if you please, and worship/praise.  I want to be in that group.
21.32  You ddi not afterwards change your minds...  Blew a "second chance."
22.12  without a wedding garment... 
22.40  On these two...  A list for those who can't remember ten.
23.3  For they preach, but do not practice...  Ouch! Reminds me of the contrast in Ezra 7.10.
23.30  If we had... The refrain of self-confident pride.
24.24  this generation...  Here is a good review of the various views on how to understand this.

     What did He mean by "this generation?" Many interpreters have concluded that Jesus meant the generation of disciples to whom He spoke (cf. 23:36). Some within this group of interpreters have concluded that because these signs did not occur before that generation of disciples died Jesus made a mistake.990 This solution is unacceptable in view of who Jesus was. Other interpreters in this group have concluded that since these signs did not appear during the lifetime of that generation of disciples Jesus must have been speaking metaphorically, not literally.991 They say the destruction of Jerusalem fulfilled what Jesus predicted. This solution is also unacceptable because there is nothing in the text to indicate that Jesus meant that the disciples should understand the signs non-literally. Moreover numerous similar prophecies concerning Messiah's first coming happened literally.
     Perhaps Jesus meant that the generation of disciples that saw the signs would also witness His return.992 However the demonstrative pronoun "this" (Gr. aute) seems to stress the generation Jesus was addressing. This pronoun could refer to the end times rather than to that generation.993 Yet this seems unnatural here.
     Other interpreters have noted that "generation" (Gr. genea) can refer to a race of people, not just to one generation (cf. 16:4; Phil. 2:15).994 They conclude that Jesus meant the Jewish race would not end before all these signs had attained fulfillment.995 This is a possible solution, but it seems unusual that Jesus would introduce the continuing existence of the Jewish race to confirm the fulfillment of these signs.
     Another view has focused attention on the words "take place" or "have happened" (Gr. genetai) that occur in all three synoptic accounts. The Greek word meant "to begin" or "to have a beginning." Advocates affirm that Jesus meant that the fulfillment of "all these things" would begin in the generation of His present disciples (cf. v. 33), but complete fulfillment would not come until later.996 However, Jesus said "all" those things would begin during that generation. It is possible that "all" those things would begin during that generation if one interprets "all those things" as the signs as a whole (cf. v. 32). The earliest signs then would correspond to the branches of the fig tree becoming tender. This would be the first evidence of fulfillment shaping up. "This generation" then "represents an evil class of people who will oppose Jesus' disciples until the day He returns."997 All things considered this view appeals most to me.
990E.g., M'Neile, p. 355.

991E.g., Kik, pp. 10-12; Plummer, p. 338.
992Carl Armerding, The Olivet Discourse, p. 44; Charles Lee Feinberg, Israel in the Last Days: The Olivet Discourse, p. 22; Toussaint, Behold the . . ., pp. 279-80; Barbieri, p. 78; Bailey, in The New . . ., pp. 51-52.
993George Benedict Winer, Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, p. 157.
994Cremer, pp. 148-49.
995E.g., English, p. 179; Gaebelein, 2:214-15.
996E.g., Cranfield, "St. Mark 13," Scottish Journal of Theology 7 (July 1954):291; C. E. Stowe, "The Eschatology of Christ, With Special Reference to the Discourse in Matt. XXIV. and XXV.," Bibliotheca Sacra 7 (July 1850):471; Mark L. Hitchcock, "A Critique of the Preterist View of 'Soon' and 'Near' in Revelation," Bibliotheca Sacra 163:652 (October-December 2006):467-78.
997Neil D. Nelson Jr., "'This Generation" in Matt 24:34: A Literary Critical Perspective," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 38:3 (September 1996):385.
---Dr. Constable's Notes on Matthew

25.26  wicked and slothful...  Hmmm... I am trying to get the idea of wicked and slothful together in my mind.  Wicked seems so much more active.
25.46  eternal punishment ... eternal life ...  This would indicate that the punishment lasts as long as the life.
26.13 This is just cool.  I am thinking about the ways this event was so important.
26.37  wept bitterly...

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