Observations On Matthew 24:29-31, And The Parallel Passages In Mark And Luke, With Remarks On The Double Sense Of Scripture -- By: M. Stuart

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 009:34 (Apr 1852)
Article: Observations On Matthew 24:29-31, And The Parallel Passages In Mark And Luke, With Remarks On The Double Sense Of Scripture
Author: M. Stuart


Observations On Matthew 24:29-31, And The Parallel Passages In Mark And Luke, With Remarks On The Double Sense Of Scripture

M. Stuart

The literal meaning, it? is said, must be given to our Saviour’s words in this passage, because the metaphorical meaning usually assigned to them would be insignificant and degrading. Let us proceed to some inquiries necessary to a right understanding of the subject to which they appertain.

(1) V. 29 (of Matt. 14.) says, that “the sun shall he darkened;” the true meaning of which is, that it will be eclipsed; for plainly and certainly, the expression is borrowed from an eclipse. This indeed

is a thing that may happen literally. But is eclipse all that takes place at the day of judgment? Peter tells us (2 Pet. 3:10), that “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” when “the day of the Lord shall come.” But there is nothing of all this in the eclipse before us. Such a fact may indeed be literally true; but taking it in this literal sense, it indicates nothing peculiar to the judgment-day. Eclipses take place every year, but the judgment-day does not occur quite so often. There is then no meaning here, at least, which is infinitely superior to anything which could be comprised in a description of the fall of Jerusalem.’

(2) “The moon shall not give her light” The same thing as before, only it is invested with different costume. The moon shall be eclipsed, is the extent of the meaning. But as this, like the preceding event, is merely an ordinary occurrence, nothing can be made out of it, which is exclusively appropriate to the general judgment.

(3) “The stars shall fall from heaven,” A serious difficulty there is here for the literal interpreter. Well do we know, indeed, that the ancient world regarded meteors as falling stars, or fragments of shattered stars; and therefore (as in our text) such meteors are called ἀστέρες, stars. If now we assume here such a meaning of these words as was commonly given to them by the ancients, when they attributed a literal sense to them, viz. that the fixed stars will fall on the earth, being loosened from their orbits; or (to express the idea in the words of Peter), that “the heavens shall pass away;” then comes the difficulty at which I have hinted above. The falling, beyond all question, is falling to the earth. How many millions of millions of suns, now, i.e. of fixed stars, can fall and lodge together on the surface of our little earth? One of them would in its fall crush our world to atoms. Such be...

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