The introductory post explains the purposes, goals and scope of this blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you start there and then, look through the posts to get a feeling for where I have gone and where I am going. But, if you don’t have the time, feel free to read this post alone. However, the blog is meant to be a series and so if you find it interesting you can go back and read it or, if you would prefer you can download a PDF of the entire blog. This PDF will be updated every Saturday so that it will have the entire blog, from first post to last, through the latest Saturday.
Many evangelical theologians have tried to explain away the many this generation statements in the New Testament by questioning what was meant by next generation, and while we will take up Jesus use of this generation in another post, I want to deal with the statement that is the most difficult to push into a two thousand year plus future. He is speaking to the twelve disciples before he sends them out and, so it is not to a future group….it is to the twelve apostles; in fact they are named by name in passage.
Here it is:
Mat 10:23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
First, when Jesus uses the phrase son of man he is evoking the image of Daniel 7:13-14. While the phrase is used a great deal by Ezekiel referring to himself it gets its messianic meaning from Daniel. We can rest assured that when Jesus referred to himself as the son of man he was speaking in messianic terms.
Let’s look at the Daniel passage:
Dan 7:13-14 "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. (14) And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
When he speaks of the coming of the son of man he is speaking of coming with the clouds of heaven in dominion and power. He is speaking of an everlasting non-destructible kingdom Therefore, when he states that… the twelve shall not go through all of the towns of Israel before the son of man comes…it becomes impossible to extend that prophecy beyond the first century.
If you are a believer in Jesus as I am….If you believe that Jesus is the only begotten son of God as I do….If you believe in the kingdom of God as I do….If you believe in the New Covenant as I do –then- from my point of view, you must find a way in which this prophecy was fulfilled in the first century just like Jesus said it was.