Part One of Two. Gary responds to a recent Facebook article posted by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis.
Commentators often argue that Matthew 24 contains both a discussion of the A.D. 70 destruction of religious, social, and political Judaism as well as a reference to a yet-future return of Christ. This supposed distinction is drawn by contrasting “this generation” and “that day and hour.” Gentry writes that “there seems to be an intended contrast between that which is near (in verse 34) and that which is far (in verse 36): this generation vs. that day. It would seem more appropriate for Christ to have spoken of ‘this day’ rather than ‘that day’ if He had meant to refer to the time of ‘this generation.’” Not at all. We should expect to see “that” used for a time still in the speaker’s future, whether that event is forty years or four thousand years in the future. “This generation” refers to the present generation Jesus was addressing. “This” is therefore the appropriate word for something present while “that” is the most appropriate word for something future. Arndt and Gingrich agree: “[T]his, referring to something comparatively near at hand, just as ekeinos [that] refers to something comparatively farther away.” “That day” would come in the final destruction of the Jews who rejected their Messiah, a time still in the future for Jesus’ audience. John Gill writes:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, &c. Which is to be understood, not of the second coming of Christ, the end of the world, and the last judgment; but of the coming of the son of man, to take vengeance on the Jews, and of their destruction; for the words manifestly regard the date of the several things going on before, which only can be applied to that catastrophe, and dreadful desolation.
Gill assumes that the previous context of the chapter governs the meaning of “that day.” Matthew 24:29 is a familiar Old Testament description of the “passing away of heaven and earth,” that is, the end of a social, religious, and political system.
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Gary responds to a recent Facebook article posted by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. To set the stage in this first part, he reads a few passages from Henry Morris’ book, Creation and the Second Coming. Ham and Morris worked together in the years before Answers in Genesis was founded. Although Ham doesn’t normally teach on eschatology, what he wrote in his article is clearly influenced by Morris and his dispensational views.