Tuesday, July 11 I’m Unraveling
Just for the record, I searched commentaries and parallel passages to get some answers to the questions raised yesterday. I can’t say I got a lot of definitive answers, but I did learn a few things. The first thing I learned is that the commentators are puzzled, too. Quite a few solutions were proposed—and rejected. The rest were too often too unsatisfactory. My findings: 1) The prediction of the destruction of the temple was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed the temple—and it happened in the disciples generation. 2) O.T. prophecies often had a near fulfillment and a far future fulfillment. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. would be the “near” fulfillment, and would be a picture of the conditions that prevailed at the second advent. Most of the description of the persecutions would fit both the near and far future fulfillments, too. 3) Mk 13:28 has to do with the kingdom of God. The fig tree represents Israel. Since Luke focuses on the Gentile world, he adds the words “and all the trees” (Lk. 21:29). So both Jews (fig trees) and Gentiles (other trees) are involved. The leafing out suggests that a harvest was forthcoming. Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached the coming of the kingdom. The disciples were key figures in the fulfillment of that, the birth of the Church. Both Jews and Gentiles are also significant at the second advent. They will be the foundation of the millennial kingdom which will begin after the second advent. 4) The phrase “this generation will certainly not pass away” probably refers to both near and future fulfillments. Just as the O.T. prophets did, Jesus mixes up the details of both near events and far future events, probably to show that the first foreshadows the second. So there are two generations involved—the disciples’ generation and the Great Tribulation generation. 5) Jesus’ declaration that his word would not pass away in Mk. 13:31 is to support the reliability of his assertion in vv. 28-29. As the Messiah, he knows the future and can’t be wrong. 6) I think of Mk. 13:31 as an addendum. The disciples’ second question was about time. Jesus answered that in terms of sequence for both the near and far future fulfillments, but he didn’t pinpoint the time. The specific time is not all that important, but knowing what comes before those major events would help them prepare for them.