Is Jesus Coming or Going in Matthew 24?


In reading the Book of Daniel, I was reminded of a misconception I used to have about something Jesus told His disciples in the last days of His earthly ministry.

In Matthew 24 Jesus is warning His disciples about the catastrophic events that will happen in Israel within a generation (Matthew 24:34), which by Jewish reckoning was 40 years.

Jesus said that after the tribulation of those days the sign of the Son of Man will appear and “they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30). Jesus is talking about His coming to earth right? Actually, no.

The best way to interpret the Bible is with the Bible, particularly when it comes to prophecy.

If your Bible is like mine it probably has the passage I’ve cited above from Matthew 24:30 in small caps. This means Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament. So, if you want to understand what Jesus was saying, the place to go is the source of the quote, which in this case is Daniel 7:13-14.

“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will never be destroyed.”

Daniel 7:13-14

I’ve italicized the emphasis so you will see it clearly. In this passage, the one Jesus quotes, He is not coming to earth but up to God the Father to receive His kingdom.

And as the Book of Hebrews says, that is where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father “waiting from that time onward” until those who hate Him come to love and obey Him. (Hebrews 10:10-14). In other words, Jesus is waiting for His followers to take the good news of the kingdom of God to the world around them. GS

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