Harry Whittaker
Studies in the Gospels

176. The Olivet Prophecy [4] (Matt. 24:29-41; Mark 13:24-32; Luke 21:25-33 and 17:26-37)*

"Immediately, after the tribulation of those days (Mk: in those days, after that tribulation), shall the sun be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven" (Mt.). Jesus was now becoming more and more explicit about the signs of his return. Luke's phrase is "signs in the sun, and in the moon and in the stars," but he goes on to add: "and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity (s.w. Gen.32 :7; ls.8 :22; Lev.26 :6), the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after (s.w. 2 Pet.3 :12-14) those things which are coming on the earth."

Identification of the "tribulation" alluded to is not exactly easy. If this is a reference back to the earlier part of the prophecy (Mt.24 :9,21), then in the last days the expectant believer is bidden look either for a persecution of a faithful remnant ("Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation") or else for a devastation of the state of Israel ("Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be").

Sun, moon, and stars

With the passing of years there is, rightly, a steadily decreasing enthusiasm for the political and ecclesiastical interpretation of the symbolism of "sun, moon, and stars" which was first propagated by Daubuz, the French Protestant expositor. The idea that "heaven is a figure for political power" has only the flimsiest support in Scripture. There are hardly any passages which help out this figurative interpretation of the "sun", and none at all for the "moon". It is high time this unsatisfactory notion were let go, especially since there are so many plain Bible passages which associate these symbols with Israel. For study of the Olivet prophecy, the outstanding one, which is by itself altogether decisive, is Jeremiah 31 :35,36; "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name. If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever." Here again, and here only, is the remarkable combination of "sun, moon, and stars" with "sea and waves roaring," as in Luke 21. Clearly, Jesus was making deliberate allusion to the Jeremiah passage. The one Scripture interprets the other.

An Isaiah passage also is relevant here: "I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea (i.e. at the Exodus), whose waves roared" (51:15). Thus, "the sea and the waves roaring" suggests another stupendous divine deliverance at a time when His people are at the limit of endurance. The next verse goes on: "I will plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth (i.e. a completely new order), and say unto Zion, Thou art my people."

Thus the signs given by Jesus call for an essentially Jewish interpretation. Bible prophecy takes account of world politics or other world forces only when they are intimately concerned with Israel. This is a principle never to be lost sight of. (See Notes).

In this prophecy, however, Jesus gives hints of wider scope regarding Israel's tribulation in the last days: "On the earth distress of nations (Gentiles) with perplexity . . . men's hearts failing them (men dropping dead) for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" Whilst the first of these expressions could mean "distress caused by Gentiles in the Land"-and the word "perplexity" has special association with the tribulation of Israel (Lev. 26 :I6; Dt. 28 :22; Is. 5:30; 8:20 LXX) -the final word (oikoumene; here translated 'earth') requires wider reference outside Israel. And the figure of roaring waves might suggest the destruction of a civilisation (Jer.51 :55; 50 :42). In some places it is also an expression of irrepressible joy at the powerful presence of the Lord (Ps.96:11-13; 98 :7-9), but is that possible here?

But what did Jesus mean by the portentous expression: "the powers of heaven shall be shaken"? Was he returning yet again to the familiar figure for Israel? Or is the phrase starkly literal, intimating rather frighteningly that the terrifying surge of evil in the world will then be so chaotic and fierce as to be almost beyond the competence of the angels, "the powers of heaven," to control. When consideration is given to such a mysterious incident as he combined experience of archangels Gabriel and Michael, described in Daniel 10 :12,13, this suggestion is hardly as outlandish as might at first be thought. Even when Michael the chief prince stands up on behalf of God's people there is nevertheless a time of trouble for Israel such as never was (Dan.12:l).

There is, of course, the possibility of a more literal meaning. Not infrequently Bible figures of speech prove to have a remarkable element of literality about them (e.g. 2 Pet.3 :7,10,12; ls.24 :18). The sophistication of the signs in the sky in this generation has become almost common place; and what further signs are yet to be seen is past the imagination of a layman to conceive. It is known that Russia's sputniks now orbiting the earth number nearly five hundred. And the amount of hardware put into space by the Americans must be something of the same order. These immense projects (leaving out of consideration such awe-inspiring operations as moon and Mars landings) are clearly intended to be of a grim practical use when the childish rivalries of the super-powers reach detonation point. Then, assuredly, there will be many a literal sign in the heavens; the powers of the heavens will be shaken!

The sign of the Son of man

And at such a time, Jesus assured his disciples in specially impressive terms, "shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven." These words can only mean a sign portending the personal return of Christ. In "The Last Days," chapter 9, it has been argued in detail that these words make most sense when taken literally as intimating an extraordinary sign in the sky, seen by all the world. To assume some figurative meaning as, for example, the uprise of the state of Israel, is to strain the language in a most unBiblical fashion. The word "appear" (phaino) in nearly every occurrence describes a vision of divine glory, And, in any case, this "sign of the Son of man" is to be apparent after the other signs have all been witnessed.

At the birth of Jesus there was an unmistakable sign in the sky-the Shekinah Glory of the Lord (Study 9), And, time and again, Jesus assured his disciples that he would return "in the glory of his Father" (Mt.16 :27; 26 :64). indeed there is hardly a Scripture which speaks in any detail about the coming of the Lord which does not employ, in some way or another, the idiom of Ezekiel's description or the Cherubim of Glory.

Thus, the actual sight of Jesus returning "In power and great glory'' will be the sign that his advent is imminent. Some find difficulty in idea of the Son of man being himself the sign, but indeed they ought not; cp. Lk.2:12,34; ls.7 :14; Jn.2 :18,19; Rev. l:7; Num.24 :17; compare also the idea in Ex.3 :12.

To be sure, the astonishing unique spectacle will not be understood by the vast majority of the world's population. Completely sold on the idea that science can find a naturalistic explanation for everything, they will shrug off this last momentous warning as some new kind of Russian (or American) space device.

However, there are indications in more than one prophecy of the end time that this awe-inspiring return of the Lord will be in a day of supernatural darkness comparable to that which the gospels associate with the day of crucifixion (Mt.27:45; see Notes).


An immediate consequence of the appearance of the sign will be that "all tribes of the earth mourn". If here, as in so many other places, the word "earth" should be replaced by "the Land" (see Notes); then this is the equivalent of Zechariah 12 :10,12: "they shall look upon me (Heb. unto me) whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son . . . And the land shall mourn, every family apart . . ." This is the national repentance of Israel when face to face with their rejected Messiah . . ." all the tribes of the Land will mourn."

The difficulty in this view is that the passage precedes that which announces Christ's actual return: "and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Revelation 1 :7 reverses the order of these details: "Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all the tribes of the earth (the Land?) shall wail because of him." "See" in the sense of mental perception will not do here. The Greek word commonly describes a literal seeing, often of divine glory (cp. also Mt.24 :26,27; 2 Th. 2 :7-10). The close resemblance of this Zechariah passage to Matthew 24 :30 should surely require it to be read as an interpretation. In that case, there is •here a strong indication that the details in Matthew 24 are not always given in precisely the order in which they will transpire. This phenomenon in prophecies of the Last Days is by no means unusual (Zech.14, Ez.38, Rev.19, 20 are familiar examples; see "Revelation", H.A.W.p.76).

The alternative interpretation disregards any possible alignment with Zechariah 12 and Revelation 1, and gives "all the tribes of the earth" a world-wide reference to a period of universal misery and suffering at the time of the Lord's coming. This will almost certainly be the case, as Luke 21 :25,26 very ominously requires. So perhaps the distinction between the two views is merely technical. However, where Israel is concerned, Zechariah 12 :10 supplies the special reason—the nation will at last turn in deep self-humiliation to God because in their extremity they will have no-one else to turn to.

"The clouds of heaven"

The picture of "the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven" is taken straight from Daniel 7:14. The only difference of any consequence is that in Daniel the Son of man is brought to the Ancient of Days, i.e. at the Ascension; whereas now the same language is harnessed to describe the Lord's return in glory from the Ancient of Days.

There is little to recommend the view that the Ancient of Days is Christ, and the Son of man is the saints. None of the frequent New Testament allusions to this passage offers a vestige of support: e.g. Mt. 26 :64; 16 :27; Rev. l :7,13; 14 :14; Acts 7:55; Jn. 3 :13; 5 :27. Mt. 24,25 uses the title "Son of man" no less than eight times.

The phrase "clouds of heaven" is explained by "power and great glory." There is invariable association of these ideas. When Israel was in the wilderness the Glory of the Lord was seen in the pillar of cloud and fire. The same cloud filled the temple of Solomon at its dedication (1 Kgs.8 :10). Ezekiel saw the Cherubim of Glory in "a great cloud and a fire infolding itself" (1 :4). At the Transfiguration, the Cloud of the Glory moved from Law and Prophets to Christ and the preachers of the Gospel (Lk.9 :34). The same Cloud received Jesus at his ascension (Acts 1 :9), and will be manifest to "the tribes of the earth" when he returns. The concordance suggests some interesting extensions of this idea.


There is a strange paradox in the teaching of Jesus about the time of his coming again. He was most emphatic that "of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mk.). Nevertheless he insisted that his disciples be watchful and prepared, and he thereupon gave emphatic signs by which the epoch might be anticipated.

The Lord's personal ignorance of the precise time of his coming again is, to say the least, remarkable. One conclusion, of special importance to enthusiasts for computation of prophetic periods, seems inescapable-this finest Bible student of all time, who had himself commended the prophecy of Daniel to the special attention of his disciples (Mt.24 :15), was evidently unable to use his inspired skill on that inspired book to learn when the Last Day would be, and therefore it ill becomes any of his disciples to assume an insight which will outmatch that of the Master in its results. Fuller, a level-headed but unexpectedly humourous Puritan commentator, puts it this way: "In such peremptory particularising of the very years, such as pretend to plough with the heifers of God's Spirit may be suspected to be drawn away with the wild bulls of their own imaginations" (Pisgah Sight; p.634). It would be well to face the fact honestly that the methods used for the calculation of prophetic periods have been inherited from writers of the apostasy who are all known to be hopelessly astray on a score of basic Bible truths. Then is it likely that such men may be followed with confidence in their speculations regarding abstruse and mysterious prophecies of Scripture? No less than four times in the rest of His Olivet prophecy (Mt.24 :42,44,50; 25 :13) Jesus declared with all possible emphasis: "Ye know neither the day nor the hour." "It shall be one day (i.e. a day of outstanding importance) which is known unto the Lord" (Zech. 14 :7) — and only to Him—the day when "the Lord my God shall come, and all the holy ones with thee."

Nevertheless, the scanning of signs of the Lord's return is not to be neglected. He wished his disciples to be alerted-even though they could not know the precise time-by an eagerness to "discern the signs of the times."

The fig tree

Foremost among these warnings is the sign of the fig tree:

"Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (Lk.). The emphasis here is intended to be put on the fig tree. Matthew and Mark omit "and all the trees."

The parable of the fig tree in the vineyard (Lk.13 :6-9; Study 131) and the acted parable of the cursing of the fig tree (Mk.11 :12-14; Study 159) both reinforce the meaning of this new fig tree parable. Its springing to life portends the revival of national Israel, a remarkable historical development witnessed by this generation.

Job's little parable is an eloquent parallel worthy to be set alongside that of his Redeemer: "There is hope of a tree if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground (Mk. 11:20); yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant" (Job 14 :7-9). But as yet (at the time of writing) Israel has hardly caught "the scent of water". The signs of repentance in the nation are there, but only in meagre fashion.

But in his parable Jesus made no mention of fruit. The resurrection of the state of Israel has been purely political. The Chosen Race is little nearer to faith in God or His Messiah than they were when the dispersion began. Leaves only! But a sign, nevertheless, as specific in character as anyone could wish for.

"Behold the fig tree and all the trees." This century which has seen Israel re-established has also seen the same kind of remarkable politico! revival, though for vastly different reasons, in the nations which surround Israel. Oil and the rivalries of the super-powers have given the Arab neighbours, ringing Israel, a political consciousness and importance which it was beyond the power of any 19th century student of Bible prophecy to foresee. Thus, today, this shortest of all parables provides in all its details as plain an intimation as could be wished for that "the kingdom of God is nigh at hand."

"This generation"

How nigh? The Lord's answer is: "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled." The phrase: "this generation" was designedly ambiguous (e.g. Lk.7 :31), but today it can only mean: "this generation which witnesses the reviving of life in the 'fig tree.' When Jesus was foretelling the tribulation of Israel he said explicitly: "All these things shall come on this generation." Within forty years (as also in Heb.3 :10) all was fully accomplished. Then from what date is this final forty year period to be measured? From 1948? This should provide a definitive terminus ad quern. So even though the Lord's pronouncement allows of fulfilment before the end the of the generation specified, readers of his words cannot take the warning too seriously: "even at the doors" (Lk.l2:36; Rev.3:20; Jas.5:9).

As though his emphasis was still woefully inadequate, Jesus added: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words (about this coming in glory) shall not pass away." Was this a hyperbole to drive home his exhortation? Or was it an interpretative allusion to the warning and comfort of Isaiah? : "The heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die like gnats: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished" (51 :6-the entire context regarding Israel is worth careful attention; cp. Jer.31 :35,36).

The days of Noah

The Lord added further signs to be heeded by the faithful remnant alert for his coming: "As it was in the days of Noah . . . as it was in the days of Lot. . .even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed" (Lk.17 :26-30). These comparisons are more strong and exact than the AV "as", would seem to indicate. Accordingly, the Flood is pointedly used by Peter as a figure of the more horrific destruction by fire which is yet to come (2 Pet.3 :6,7). The same cataclysm provides also a type of the Lord's faithful in safety-the water which destroyed the wicked was the very means of ensuring the safety of the elect (1 Pet.3 :20,21).

It is surely significant here that Jesus made a distinction between "the day that Noah entered into the ark" and the day when "the flood came and took them all away." The Genesis narrative (7 :1,10) interposes an interval of one week here. The Almighty's judgment of an evil generation does not involve the elect. Compare the angel's words to Lot: "I cannot do anything till thou be come thither" (Gen . 1 9 :22) .

"Eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage" is the aspect of antediluvian life which Jesus specially reprobated. Not that any of these things is wrong in itself. It is obsession with this materialistic and self-indulgent level of human existence which is to bring the judgment of God on this world of the ungodly. There are four aspects of this spreading corruption which call for special attention.

  1. The blurring of the lines of distinction between those marked out as the Lord's people and those with no such pretensions (Gen.6:2,3).
  2. "The earth was filled with violence" (6:11).
  3. "The earth was corrupt before Cod" (6 :11), i.e. its religion was entirely apostate.
  4. "Every imagination of the thought of man's heart was only evil continually" (6 :5)-a deliberate wilful dedication to all forms of evil. There is no need for any elaborate demonstration of the close resemblance provided by modern society. The days of Noah and the present year of dis-grace fit each other as a hand fits a glove.
  5. "They knew not until the flood came" (Mt.24 :39). But they did know, for they had Noah, a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5), and the witness of the building of the ark. So the Lord's words must mean: 'they refused to know, they were disobedient'(1 Pet. 3:20).
The days of Lot

And so also with the days of Lot, only here Christ's stress on the close similarity with the last days is even more emphatic: "after the same manner" (RV). (Note the force of the Greek adverbs: homoios . . . kathos . . . kata to auto; Lk. 17:28, 30).

Again the type in Genesis 19 suggested by these words is instructive: Sodom's wickedness before God; its particular vice; Lot's reprobation of the evil; his prayers about it; Abraham's intercession for the faithful; the mission of angels; their reception with unleavened bread; persecution; few worthy to be brought out; the last warning rejected; instead, mockery; flight to safety as day dawns; destruction held back; a city of refuge provided; "do not look back"; but Lot's wife did, and shared the fate of the wicked; fire and brimstone as the sun arises.

Again Jesus painted a picture of a civilisation wholly concerned with its materialistic way of life (though apparently the people of Sodom were even further gone in wickedness-they did not bother to "marry or give in marriage"!)

Both positively and negatively Jesus warned against involvement with the world of the ungodly and its materialism: "Remember Lot's wife ... he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away." The words counsel not so much haste as separateness: "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord" (ls.52 :11). It is he who is willing to "lose his life (Gk: soul-the natural man; Studies 129,169) who shall preserve it."

Angels and the elect

Emphasis on God's protection of the faithful in these typical judgments is not to be missed. Not only in the times of Noah and Lot, but also in the days of Hezekiah and Jeremiah and Daniel, and in A.D. 70. And in all these instances there was first warning, and then judgment.

But how preserved from a devastation comparable to the Flood or to the extinction of Sodom? The Lord's answer is: "The Son of man shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the one end of heaven to the other" (Mt.). In the New Testament, without exception, the "elect" are the saints in Christ. But other terminology in this passage seems more appropriate to Israel. The "trumpet" suggests the means of rallying the tribes of Israel or a summons calling the elders of the people (Num.10 :2,4,7,10; Lev.23 :24). And the "four winds" is an expression specially associated with Israel (Dt. 4:32; 30:4; Zech.2:6LXX; Ez.37 :9). For these reasons some have interpreted this verse with reference solely to the Jews, the elect nation. However, other New Testament passages appropriate these "Israel" features to the saints, the New Israel of God; e.g. "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Th. 4:16). "The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor.15 :52). "Four angels . . . holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth . . . till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads" (Rev. 7 :1,4). Also, 2 Thessalonians 2 :1 seems to be a clear allusion to this Olivet prediction: "our gathering together unto him." Compare also Mt.13:41,49; ls.27:13.

This gathering of the saints is not to be associated with a secret unperceived coming of their Lord, for the words in Mark are quite explicit: "Then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels . . . (13 ;26,27). How is it that this detail has come to be overlooked through so many generations by those who have persuaded themselves otherwise?

There is some difficulty with what follows: "... gather his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven" (13 :27). This last phrase perhaps becomes most intelligible when equated with Paul's description of saints being "caught away in (Shekinah) clouds, into the air, for the purpose of meeting the Lord (at Jerusalem)" (1 Th.4 :17). But a similar use of Greek prepositions elsewhere (e.g. Acts 8 :10; Heb.8 :11) suggests the idea of a complete gathering of the elect from wherever they are to be found.

But where the meeting with the Lord is to take place will doubtless remain a matter for difference of opinion until it has actually happened. Only Seventh Day Adventists and such argue that it will be in mid-air or in heaven. Some locate it at Mount Sinai, but much more specific Bible evidence points to Jerusalem. (The details are explored in "The Last Days", chapter 10).

The Lord gave a series of dramatic snapshots of the actual removal of his saints from their normal routine: a woman is snatched away from grinding corn, a man disappears from his ploughing, another leaves his bedfellow and is gone. "One taken, and the other left." But equally possible is the view that the Lord speaks of two believers, one of whom is willing to respond to the angelic call and the other not. "Remember Lot's wife" chimes in remarkably well with this idea.

Eagles and carcase

So also does the Lord's little parable about vultures and carcase. The disciples, intrigued by what Jesus had revealed, asked: "Where, Lord?" The usual assumption that they meant: "Taken where, Lord?" is possible. But this requires that, in the parable, Christ to whom they are taken is represented by the carcase, and the saints by vultures. The mind revolts at the gross unseemliness of such a similitude.

Alternatively, the question could mean: "Left where, Lord?"-with the implication: We know that those taken away are taken to safety, as happened to Lot, but what is the fate of those who are left? The Lord's answer would now mean: "Those who are spiritually dead, a carcase, are left to the vultures—they share all the evil which the world experiences in that time of turmoil."

One advantage of this interpretation is that in the completely different context in which the parable was spoken in Matthew (24 :28), a remarkably similar meaning is clearly required. There Jesus had been warning against false prophets. "Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: if they say, Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not . . ." In this context, the meaning would appear to be : If you show yourselves to be spiritually dead, a carcase, you will surely get these vultures, the false teachers, round you.

Read thus, in both places where Jesus used it, this vigorous gruesome little parable becomes a very grim warning to saints in Christ who are not eager and alert for the coming of their Lord.

Precisely when, in the divine programme, this gathering of believers unto the Lord will take place is not a question to be answered with confidence. But there are four considerations which suggest that this will be after he is enthroned in Jerusalem as King of the Jews:

"Then shall he send his angels. . . (Mk.13 :27], i.e. after he has been seen coming in power and glory.

When the judgment of those gathered before him takes place, the king sits on the throne of his glory, i.e. in Jerusalem (Mt.25:31).

"First that which is natural; then that which is spiritual" (1 Cor.15 :46). If this is a general principle, the issue is settled.

Revelation 11 :17-19 strongly suggests this sequence:

The reign of Christ established (in Jerusalem).

The kings of the earth rise up, in vain, against the Messiah.

The resurrection.

The rewarding of the saints.

Judgment on an ungodly world.

A climax of theophany

Notes: Mt.24:29-41

Immediately. Here, unexpectedly, is one "of Mark's favourite words appropriated by Matthew-and not used in the parallel passage by Mark.

Sun, moon, stars. Other passages in which Israel is alluded to by this symbolism: Gen.37 :9,10; 15 :5; 22 :17; Amos 8 :8-10; Micah 3 :6; S.of S. 6 :10; ls.24 :23; Jer.33 :20-26; JI.2 :10,30-32; 3 :15; Acts 2 :20; Rev.6 :12; 8:12; 12:1. For details see "The Time of the End" (by H.A.W.), chapter 11. Also ls.13 :10; 34 :4, when properly interpreted.
They shall see. Why the change of pronoun to "ye" in v.33?

The sign of the Son of man, accompanied by unnatural darkness: Mt.24 :19; Zech.14 :6; JI.2 :2; Zeph.l :15; Am.5 :20; 8 :9; ls.13 :10;5 :30; 24 :23.

All the tribes of the earth mourn. The N.T. has over 40 examples of this use of the Greek word ge, and LXX has over a thousand, with the meaning "Land".

Mourn... see, Gk: kopsontai... opsontai - a designed paronomasia, only possible if Jesus spoke this in Gk. Is theros, thurais - summer, doors (v.32,33) - another example?
Send his angels. This anticipates 28:18 -the authority of Christ in heaven.
The fig tree. Lk: "and all the trees" might be derived from Jl. 1:12. In that case, another allusion to Israel, but in what sense?
It is near. Lk. 21:31 defines "it" as "the kingdom of God."
This generation. In classical usage genea means "race", but in the LXX it carries the meaning assigned here.
"If all the Olivet prophecy were an invention (as many moderns say) this verse could not be."
Coming. The J.W reading of this as an invisible parousia is vetoed by Lk. 17:30: "apocalypsed."
Marrying and giving in marriage, to ensure a next generation. What a dramatic irony!

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