After predicting the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in response to His disciples’ request for a sign of His coming and the end of the age Jesus has warned foremost and repeatedly against being misled by false Christs and false prophets who would appeal to people’s desire for a worldly savior. Three times in the immediately preceding verses He has cautioned against believing or going out after those who say a messiah will appear here or there to save them from their enemies. For He alone is able to provide true salvation, and that alone through the deliverance from sin that was about to be accomplished by His death and resurrection, after which He ascended to heaven and “sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Heb 10:12-13). Hence, regardless of how great the worldly signs and wonders are that might be given to indicate that salvation can be had apart from what the true Christ has already accomplished, such enticements are but a delusion sent by God in judgment for men’s refusal to believe the truth and that will ultimately gather together the enemies of God and sweep them away to destruction; cf. 2Th 2:9-12, Rev 16:13-16. What does Jesus now say about how obvious His coming will be to everyone so that no one will need to point it out? See Mat 24:27. In what way was this true in regard to His coming in 70 a.d. that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple and the entire Jewish nation? Considering the dispersion of Jews and the spread of Christianity throughout the world by that time, was there anyone at that time in the entire known world from east to west who would have been unaware of those events? What does this again help us to understand about the nature of Jesus’ coming that He predicted, and how that contrasts with what so many are expecting today? How is the way that so many today expect Jesus to come similar to the way the unbelieving Jews were expecting a messiah to appear and save them from their enemies? When Jesus comes again like lightning in final judgment upon the world system of Babylon so that “in one hour” her wealth will be laid waste, will there again be any from east to west who will be unaware of those events? Cf. Rev 18:9,11,17.
What do Jesus’ words in Mat 24:27 also indicate about how powerfully and irrevocably His coming will be, without being turned back or undone? Cf. Rev 6:12-17. In what way was that true in regard to His coming in 70 a.d.? After the Jewish leaders had rejected Him as their Messiah and the lightning bolt of God’s judgment had been released, was there anything that could turn it back or anyone who could withstand its might? Cf. Deut 32:39-41 and notice that My flashing sword in vs. 41 is literally the lightning of My sword (cf. Eph 6:17); see also Psa 18:12-14, 97:1-6, 144:5-6, Hab 3:9-13. What does our understanding of lightning as an image of the Lord’s arrows, spear or the sword of His judgment again help us to understand about the nature of Christ’s coming and the manner in which He effects salvation for His people by the destruction of “those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2Th 1:8)? See also 2Th 2:8 where Paul says that the lawlesss one will be slain with the breath of the Lord’s mouth, i.e., by His word, and by the brightness (KJV), or appearance (NAS) of His coming. What does this teach us about the power of the truth to destroy the wicked and deliver God’s people from their bondage, and especially the truth that is found in the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ? How does this imagery also help us to better understand Jesus’ words at His trial before the Sanhedrin that “from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mat 26:64)? See Deut 32:2, Psa 77:17-18, 104:3-4, Jer 10:13, Job 36:27-37:13 and consider the spiritual relationship that corresponds to the physical relationship between clouds, rain, and lightning; cf. Isa 55:10-11. Besides the swiftness of Christ’s coming in judgment upon the unbelieving Jews, in what ways did the gospel message of salvation also go forth like lightning after Christ’s death and resurrection, especially from east to west? Cf. Act 2:8-12, 17:6, Rom 15:19 (locate Illyricum on a Bible map). What does this remind us about God’s great desire that none should perish, but for all to come to repentance, and that even His judgments are remedial in the hope that men might repent and be saved?
1. The radiance of Your gleaming spear is literally the brightness of the lightning of your spear.↩
2. Literally, by the shining upon of His coming, from the Greek word epiphaneia from which we get our word epiphany.↩
3. “The fastnesses of Britain, though inaccessible to the Romans, were occupied by Jesus Christ”. (Tertullian, writing in the second century).↩