Postmillennialist: John A. Broadus (Part 4)

Postmillennialist: John A. Broadus (Part 4)

We continue to make our way slowly through the commentary from John Broadus on the Olivet discourse. In this post I will skip over some of his writing to cover more ground.

Matthew 24:26-28

There are a few interesting stories about Jesus being hidden during the gospel. Because He was seeking privacy the crowds occasionally grew anxious looking to follow Him. They now are told not to respond that way in the future. His return and presence will be evident.

The true Messiah’s appearing will be sudden and visible to all. The desert or wilderness (Mt 4:1), and the secret chambers (Mt 6:6), are contrasted. He will not be known to have appeared elsewhere, and will not be found by searching in the wild, thinly inhabited regions, or in the private portions of some city house; his appearing will be visible to all, as a flash of lightning (Comp. Luke 17:23).

There are many interesting perspective on the lightening in the following verse. I personally take it a symbolic imagery of God's descent in judgment. Broadus takes a very practical turn that, admittedly, links it within the context more sufficiently.

Matthew 24:27 is closely connected by for with v. 26, which last points to the destruction of Jerusalem. Yet the language of v. 27 seems specially appropriate to the final coming; and it may perhaps be understood as referring to both. (Comp. on v. 3.) Also is an inadequately supported addition in the common text. And shineth , or is seen , as in Mt 6:5 ; not that the lightning goes to the west, as ‘shineth’ might suggest, but that its light is seen even that far. The thought therefore seems to be (Weiss) that the Messiah’s coming will be alike visible to all, and so there will be no occasion for some to tell others where he may be seen.

Yet one more verse is linked to the above passages. Again Christ is building open the openly visible theme of His return in judgment.

Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. As the eagle proper rarely feeds on carrion, the word probably here denotes a carrion-kite, which Pliny classes with eagles (Grimm), or a great vulture as large as the eagle, which now abounds in Palestine, and is called eagle by the natives (Thomson, III, 221). The meaning of the saying as here applied seems to be, that things will come to pass when the occasion for them exists. When Jerusalem is ready for destruction, the Roman armies will gather and destroy it; when the world lies awaiting the final appearance of Christ to judgment, he will come.

I am quick to point out that this imagery is consistent with the battle imagery of Revelation (Rev 19:21). I personally see this as the removal of the covenantal promises, blessing and protection of Abraham (Gen 15:11). 


Matthew 24:29-

I have written and mentioned this verse rather extensively elsewhere (there might even be more scheduled to come). I will provide the commentary without adding. 

Immediately . The phrase is not exactly ‘immediately after’; the adverb ‘immediately’ is connected with ‘the sun shall be darkened,’ etc. The substantial sense is however the same. So far as this passage relates to the destruction of Jerusalem, we may suppose that the events it indicates were to follow immediately after those predicted in 15-28. As regards the ulterior reference to the final parousia , there may prove to be in like manner some close consecution, but only the fulfilment is likely to show. After the tribulation of those days, viz, the tribulation attending upon the destruction of Jerusalem, see especially v. 21. The English term tribulation is often regarded as interesting, from its supposed connection with the Latin tribulum , a threshing-sled with sharp teeth to beat the grain out of the straw. But the Greek certainly has no such association, and means simply pressure, oppression, affliction (2Co 1:3-8 ). Of those days, is naturally but not necessarily the same period as ‘those days’ in v. 19 and 22. The sun shall be darkened, etc. (Joe 2:31, 3:15; Am 8:9; Isa 13:9 f; Eze 32:7 Re 6:12). These passages incline one to understand the expressions as a mere image. And so with the following expression, the stars shall fall, meaning not some stars, but the stars generally. Comp. Isa 34:4 . The powers of the heavens, the forces which dwell in the heavens and keep them stable the shaking of which will disturb their stability (Meyer).

With reference to the "sign of the son of man", I see Broadus taking a very cautious step. More definitive on what it isn't then what it truly is.

Some Premillennialist or Adventist writers hold (Hanna) that with v. 29 begins the account of the introduction of Christ’s personal reign on earth, extending to Mt 25:30 , and after that is described the general judgment at the end of the millennium. But it is extremely doubtful whether we ought to introduce into the Saviour’s discourse such ideas supposed to be drawn from the Apocalypse.

Here now we see Broadus begin to weave a dual prophecy perspective into the Discourse.  I would suggest this can only be fulfilled in the Jewish sense of non-literal to its full context but particular of a typology for the future judgment.

Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn (Comp. Zec 12:10,12; Re 1:7). Not simply the Jews shall mourn, but all men. This may have been true in some partial sense at the destruction of Jerusalem. Is it not probable that many Jews who had heard the apostles preach, or who had read the Gospel of Matt., did then remember the rejected Jesus, how he predicted all this calamity and ruin, how they voluntarily assumed the guilt of his blood (Mt 27:25), and did mourn bitterly? But the prediction will doubtless be completely fulfilled at the second coming of Christ.

And again in response to verse 30 Broadus trends towards the dual fulfillment concept without denying a complete a literal fulfillment in AD 70.

It is practically impossible to suppose that v. 30 f. relates simply to the destruction of Jerusalem. As the latter part of the discourse {Mt 25:31-46} clearly refers to the second coming of our Lord, it seems unavoidable to suppose a similar reference here; see also the corresponding passage, Mt 13:41 . But v. 34 will presently declare that ‘all’ the foregoing matter will occur during the existing generation. Then as we cannot believe (with Meyer and others) that the Saviour mistakenly expected his parousia to be within that generation, it follows that v. 29-31 must refer to the destruction of Jerusalem. The difficulty is relieved by understanding a typical relation between the destruction of Jerusalem and his final parousia, on the ground of which relation v. 29-31 really points in some sense to both events.

I'll likely have to spend time dealing with this dual approach at a later date. Needless to say, Broadus sees this type of swing start much earlier than I would permit and most modern partial preterist teach. 

Joshua Torrey is the sole proprietor of Torrey Gazette (don't tell Alaina) and the fullness of its editorial process. That means everything wrong with TG can legitimately be blamed on him.