"A storehouse to prophetic students, a perplexity to lay readers, and to others a labyrinth of errant eschatological notions - such are the reactions to Matthew Twenty-Four. Many will agree that this Chapter, with its vivid prophetical language, is difficult to understand. Commentators have only added to the confusion of interpretation by indicating their 'double meanings; 'prophetic perspectives,' and 'partial and complete fulfillments.' These intended solutions to the exegesis of difficult verses have in no way contributed to a right understanding of Jesus' prophetic discourse." Such men as Herbert Armstrong have a field day when they come to interpret this chapter in light of present day happenings. Often even otherwise fairly dependable commentators spin fancy theories regarding this chapter. For example, Herman Olhousen says, "In regard to the form of the great prophetic discourse of Christ, with which Matthew concludes his account of the residence of Jesus in Jerusalem before his sufferings, it may be observed, that this again evidently manifests itself as a composition of the Evangelist. Matthew has here collected together the predictions concerning the Saviour's advent, uttered by him at different times and under various circumstance." (Bible Commentary, Vol. II, pg. 218) Indeed many long works have been issued in efforts to explain the discourse of Christ. But none have we found serves better than the book, Matthew XXIV, by J. Marcellus Kik.
In his exposition of the twenty fourth division of Matthew, Kik begins with verse 34, of which he says, "to those who will allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, there is a key that unlocks simply for us the meaning of this difficult passage. The key to Matthew Twenty-Four is verse 34." This verse he terms as the "time text of the chapter."
The disciples put to Jesus a query asking, "when shall these things be?" In response Jesus points their minds to two horizons. One is near, which is the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. The other is distant, which is the second advent of Christ. Kik points out that verse 36 is the "Transition Text" from the first horizon to the second, and this verse marks the beginning of a new subject.
Kik shows that scripture must be studied in light of its context. And Matthew Twenty Four is no exception. The context of the chapter is fully discussed.
The disciples asked, "What shall be the sign of thy coming?" Jesus points out some signs that might be misleading to the disciples, according to the discussion by Kik, such as false Christs, wars, pestilences, famines, and earthquakes. Then Jesus "gives what would be the approximate sign and the definite sign of that future event."
Verses 29 through 31 have been tortured and wrested by foolish men. While the reader might not agree with all that Kik has to say in explanation of these verses, he must agree that his discussion of the passage is enlightening, sensible and sober.
The main burden of the 115 page book is a discussion of the prophetic discourse of Christ concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and events leading to it, as given in the first 35 verses. Then the author points out a contrast in the subject matter of the chapter in the succeeding verses through verse 51, the prophesies about the end of time, and says, "The one fulfillment is a guarantee of the other." He writes of the "Contrast in Content," "A definite and clear contrast exists between the subject matter of the First section and that of the Second section of Matthew 24 and 25. In the first everything is very specific; in the second everything is general. In the first specific signs are given; in the second there is an absence of explicit signs. In the first Section time is given for Christians to flee; in the Second there is no time for flight. Judgment upon earth is the subject of the first section; judgment in the life to come forms the subject of the second section."
The careful student will appreciate very much the discussion and complete refutation of the doctrine of Premillennialists concerning the "throne of his glory." Kik writes, "Thus David revealed a better understanding of the significance of Christ's throne and its location than do the premillennialists. As a matter of fact there is not one passage in the New Testament which gives definite information of a personal reign of Christ upon a temporal throne in the material city of Jerusalem! What seems to be hidden to the apostles has been revealed by uninspired men."
Matthew Twenty-Four is an interesting chapter. Kik's book is an interesting and profitable discussion of the Lord's dissertation. We highly recommend that everyone who is interested in a careful study of the New Testament obtain a copy from The Gospel Guardian Company, Box 470, Lufkin, Texas. Price, $2.00.
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