15 Reasons Why Matthew 24 is About the Destruction of Jerusalem

1.   The immediate context of Matthew 21-23 involves the temple, Jerusalem and the cursing of Israel not the end of the world.  

2.      The book of Matthew is about judgment coming upon Israel. See chapter 12:22-45, as well as the parables in 13. This theme is continued in chapter 24.

3.      “Generation” is used in Matthew 1:17, 11:16, 12:39, 41, 42, 45, 16:4, 17:17, 23:36, and 24:34.  Every other place besides Matthew 24:34 it refers to a literal generation or to the generation standing right in front of Jesus. Why should we change the meaning in 24:34?

4.      The imagery used throughout Matthew 24:15-20 is local imagery. Flee to the mountains. Get out of Jerusalem. Do not wait.  These commands make no sense if Jesus is describing a worldwide tribulation.  

5.      The use of Daniel 7:13 in Matthew 24:30 is a reference to Jesus going up to the Father, not coming down for the 2ndcoming. Matthew is not talking about Jesus coming again, but rather rising up to God and sitting on his throne. Matthew 26:63-64 shows the same thing.

6.      The constant use of “you” throughout the text. This must apply to the disciples or else the entire speech makes no sense. This does not mean it cannot in some way also apply down the line to something else, but there must be an application to the 1stcentury hearers.

7.      While it is possible for “tribes of earth” in Matthew 24:30 to mean the whole earth, the word often means land, as in Rome (Luke 2:1)or land of Israel (25:45, 51) or even just the ground (25:18).  With the word “tribes” attached to it, it is more likely that this refers to the 12 tribes of Israel and not the whole world.

8.      Matthew 24:32-33 shows that Jesus expected his disciples to see the signs and act accordingly.

9.      Luke 19:41-44 and 21:20 makes it clear this is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem.

10.  Paul is clear that Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled before his death. (See Romans 10:18, 16:25-26, Colossians 1:6, 23)

11.  The phrases used in Matthew 24:29 are not literal in the Bible. Isaiah 13:9-10 uses this imagery about the destruction of Babylon. Ezekiel 32:7-8 is about the destruction of Egypt. Joel 2 uses this imagery of a locust attack. While the locusts were probably literal, if you read through chapter 2 you will see that most of the imagery is not. Amos 8:9 uses this imagery to describe the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Acts 2:17-21 describes what is being fulfilled right in front of them and again it is not literal. There is no reason that it has to be literal here (or in Revelation for that matter).

12.  The description of what will happen to the disciples in Matthew 24:8-11, Mark 13:9-11, and Luke 21:12 are all in Acts and Paul’s letters. Matthew 24:8-11 does not demand a world-wide persecution of Christians. It fits very well into the history of the church we find in the N.T.

13.  Jesus and Stephen were accused of preaching against the temple. (See Matthew 26:61 and Acts 6:13) We can argue about what they said, but it is clear that those surrounding Jesus and the Jews in the New Testament felt they were against the temple.

14.  The use of the end of the age/last days, etc. throughout the N.T demands a first century reading for the phrase “end of the age” in Matthew 24:3, 13, and 14.  (See I Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 1:1-2, and I John 2:18).

15.  There are comings of God/Jesus in the OT and NT that are not physical comings. (See Psalm 18:10-12, Isaiah 19:1, and Revelation 2:5, 16, and 3:3)