Re: Syn. Apoc. (Parable of Fig Tree)

From: Bruce Terry (
Date: Mon Sep 04 1995 - 13:02:24 EDT

On Tue, 29 Aug 1995, Jan Haugland wrote:

>> A: vv. 34-35 Events of this generation
>"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things
>be fulfilled." The world "ALL" is pretty inclusive. If ALL would happen to
>*that* generation who witnessed Jesus saying these words, there's not much
>left, is it?

There is a real problem in treating the Bible as if it were a mathematics
text. In a math book, presence of "all" means "everyone without exception";
this is not necessarily the case with ordinary human language. In Ex. 9:6 all
the Egyptians' cattle were killed, but in verse 19 they still had cattle to
save from the next plague. In 1 Cor. 15:27 Paul argues that it is obvious
that God is not included in all things in the scripture, "God has put all
things under his feet." Our children may say, "But everyone's doing it," and
we reply, with our parents, "well, you're not!"

So Matthew 24:34 must be understood to be analogous to the parable of the fig
tree told in verses 32-33. Just as the branch putting forth leaves implies
that summer is near, so the occurrence of all these things implies that he is
near (so RSV; cf. Luke's parallel: the kingdom of God is near). It seems
obvious that if he is only near, not here, after the occurrence of all these
things that his coming is not included in "all" these things. Besides, "these
things" TAUTA harkens back to the disciples' original question, although that
is more apparent as a literary device in Mark than in Matthew.

Bruce Terry E-MAIL:
Box 8426, ACU Station Phone: 915/674-3759
Abilene, Texas 79699 Fax: 915/674-3769

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