Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“Matthew 24” pp. 593-618.
“The last of Jesus’ major discourses in this Gospel is largely concerned with judgment and the conduct expected of the follower of Jesus in view of the coming judgment” (Morris 1992, 593). Morris notes that distinguishing between the two judgments is often difficult and that this trouble probably relates to the theological unity of the two events.
Morris divides the content of the chapter into four portions. Verses 1-2 speak of the temple’s destruction. Verses 3-14 detail the beginning of troubles. Verses 15-28 bring those troubles to their climax. Verses 29-51 have the finality of the coming Son of Man.
Morris points out that in leaving the temple Jesus is departing for good. He will never return (Morris 1992, 594). The comment about the great stones is confirmed by Josephus, who describes enormous blocks of stone used (Morris 1992, 595). Though the temple was doubtless magnificent, it would be completely destroyed.
In the relatively private setting with his disciples, Jesus spoke more specifically (Morris 1992, 596). The disciples wanted to know the sign of his coming and the sign of the end. They clearly linked the two ideas (Morris 1992, 596). Jesus speaks of these issues in terms of teaching to prevent the disciples from being led astray (Morris 1992, 596). Those claiming Messianic authority will endanger the disciples (Morris 1992, 596). Despite word of danger the disciples should not fear (Morris 1992, 598). Troubles will come upon the disciples as well (Morris 1992, 599). An atmosphere of lawlessness will arise (Morris 1992, 600), leading some to depart from the faith (Morris 1992, 601). Meanwhile, the Gospel will go throughout the world (Morris 1992, 601).
In Matthew 24:15-28 Jesus describes the climax of troubles to come. Morris notes that Jesus is not specific about time in this passage. His interest is in the troubles, not the timing (Morris 1992, 603). There will be desecration of the temple and destruction of the land, something which happens repeatedly in history (Morris 1992, 603). Again, the timing of flight from Jerusalem is not clear, but the urgent situation is (Morris 1992, 604). There is apparently a shortening of the troubles “for the sake of the elect,” which Morris suggests may be related to the fact that Christians often pour themselves into care and service in times of disaster (Morris 1992, 606). There will be false prophets trying to deceive Christians, with some success (Morris 1992, 606). It is very important to realize, as in verse 27, that the coming of the Messiah will be an obvious, public event (Morris 1992, 607).
Verses 29-51 describe the coming of the Son of Man (Morris 1992, 608). Jesus describes a distress that extends to nature itself (Morris 1992, 609). There will be a sign that everybody will recognize as he comes in majesty (Morris 1992, 610). Christians are to live a life of awareness of Jesus’ character so they will know his coming (Morris 1992, 611). The cryptic statement in verse 34, that “this generation will not pass away” has been subject to various interpretations. After a brief analysis, Morris considers it to refer to the type of people who exist on earth, both believing and unbelieving (Morris 1992, 613). Jesus continues to refuse a time frame, but shows that he considers his promise to be certain (Morris 1992, 613). There will be a sudden and cataclysmic end of this earth (Morris 1992, 614). It is therefore very important to be ready. Those who are not ready or who abuse their freedom will be destroyed in the day of judgment (Morris 1992, 617).