1. Introduction

We are studying the meaning of Jesus’ prophecies found in Matthew 24. The question that I answered in the previous post was “What Did Jesus Mean In Matthew 24 When He Said That The Powers Of The Heavens Shall Be Shaken?

Today, we want to discover what Jesus meant when He told the disciples that the Sign of the Son of Man would appear in the heaven. Let’s read:

2  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down…

Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign G4592 when all these things shall be fulfilled? – Mark 13: 2 & 4

As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down

And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? – Luke 21: 6 & 7

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect

30 And then shall appear the sign (sēmeion/G4592) of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory – Mark 13: 26

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory – Luke 21: 27

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

2. Understanding the context in which the prophecy referring to the sign of the Son of Man appearing in heaven was written

We need to remind ourselves that Jesus’ prophecy must be understood in light of the context. In the context of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus began by hinting to His disciples that a day would come when the temple would be totally destroyed and none of its stones would be left standing.  We must also remember that the subsequent discourse given by the Lord was His response to the question:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? – Matthew 24: 3

Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign G4592 when all these things shall be fulfilled? – Mark 13: 2 & 4

And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? – Luke 21: 6 & 7

Interestingly, when translating Apostles Mark and Luke, the phrases when shall all these things be fulfilled? and when shall these things come to pass? were used. As a result, the context is kept very clear in our minds.

However, it appears that three questions are asked in the text of Matthew:

Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? – Matthew 24: 3

If we merge these questions into one, we would have to interpret the question to mean that Jesus would come in the clouds as a sign of the fulfilment of the Temple destruction aka these things aka end of the world.

NB: End of the world means future or end of an era in the scripture

3. How can we safely interpret Jesus’ response to His disciples?

Given my current understanding that Jesus was replying to a question about signs of the destruction of the Temple, let us see whether there were signs of the Son of Man in the sky before the Temple was destroyed.

Sēmeion (G4592) or signs include

  • fearful sights and great signs G4592 … from heaven – Luke 21: 11.
  • “signs G4592 in the sun…moon, and …stars” – Luke 21: 25
  • miracles
  • wonders in heaven above, and signs G4592 in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke – Acts 2: 19
  • wonders and signs G4592 in the land of Egypt – Acts 7: 36

Cross references for sēmeion (G4592),  the Hebrew word for sign, show that the Jews commonly looked to the sky for signs. They even tempted Jesus to show them a sign from heaven (Matthew 16: 1- 4). Anyone who believed the words of the Lord would have known the imminent time of the destruction of the Temple:

16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign G4592 from heaven.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’

and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.[a]

A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away

These are the words that Jesus used in the prophecy regarding the destruction of Jerusalem:

30 And then shall appear the sign (sēmeion/G4592) of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory – Mark 13: 26.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory – Luke 21: 27/

4. Signs of the Son of Man in heaven at the time of the destruction of the Temple in AD 70

Signs of the Lord and His armies were so notable that Josephus dedicated an entire section to it in his writings  – Book VI, Chapter V Section 3

3. Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend, nor give credit, to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation (1); but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider (2), did not regard the denunciations that God made to them (3). Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year 

I note that a star appeared at the time of the Lord’s birth and stood over the house where He lay.

(4). Thus also, before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eight day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day-time; which light lasted for half an hour (5). This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskilful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it.

Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one-and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities (7).

Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking (8), and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.” (9)

“A supernatural apparition was seen, too amazing to be believed. What I am now to relate would, I imagine, be dismissed as imaginary, had this not been vouched for by eyewitnesses, then followed by subsequent disasters that deserved to be thus signalized. For before sunset chariots were seen in the air over the whole country, and armed battalions speeding through the clouds and encircling the cities.”

But, what is still more terrible, there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian, and an husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity (10), came to that feast whereon it is our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!”

(11) This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city. However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say anything for himself, or anything peculiar to those that chastised him, but still he went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator- where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet did he not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was , “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!”

Read more

Chariots in the clouds.

Image of Jesus in the clouds

Modern day hand of God in the sky.

Modern day appearances of Jesus documented by Apostle David Taylor

Angelic blessings.

 

Advertisements