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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 19: Matthew 24-25, by Kevin M. Williams

Yeshua is drawing the conclusions for the audience, the Jewish men, women and children sitting at his feet, that He is the Son of Man—the Messiah of Israel.

… and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).

After quoting many prophecies out of the Hebrew Scriptures, Yeshua sums up with a statement that has the same tone as the quote above from the Apocalypse of Abraham. There would be no question in the audience’s mind that this “Son of Man” was no ordinary man, but the Messiah. The manifestation of Matthew’s testimony to the Jewish people is right before them.

The point is driven home even further in the context of “then all the tribes of the earth will mourn.” Yeshua hints at the words of another prophet of Israel, Zechariah: “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem . . .” (Zechariah 12:10-11, italics mine).

Yeshua is leaving little doubt as to His mission and His identity—for those with ears to hear.

Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:33-34).

Once again, like so many other rabbis of His time, the Great Rabbi teaches using a parable. The fig tree was euphemistically used for the people of Israel, so it would seem that Yeshua is saying that when Israel puts forth spiritual leaves—on its way to becoming fruitful for the kingdom again—then the end of the age is near.

For some, it is believed that as the political entity of Israel became a nation in 1948, that may have signaled the beginning of the fig tree retuning to life and the nearness of Yeshua’s return (for the Christian, and the arrival of the Messiah for the first time for much of today’s Orthodox Jewry).

The Messiah’s statement that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place,” has confounded some students of the Bible. A biblical generation was considered forty years. For some today, Yeshua’s inference means that none of those seated there on the Mount of Olives would die before all of the trials and tribulations of which He spoke had come to pass. This interpretation is one of the foundations of the preterists’ view.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Winter 2006

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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