Again, I got another interesting question from Matt. 10:23,
“But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man become.”
So what was Jesus telling the disciples? What did Jesus mean that the disciples wouldn’t go round the cities of Israel before He comes? In what form was He going to come? If what we always believe that the coming of Christ is to be the second coming only, how does this passage fit into this theory of the second coming? If this must be the second coming, are the first century disciples still alive running around the cities of Israel? And if they are dead by now as we talk, does it mean Jesus lied or He came but we don’t know how He came?
Well to attempt this all important question, let us read the passage from verse 18.
Matt. 10:18, “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”
“In this city, flee ye into another.” So what was this persecution? For we read, “But when they shall persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; and if they persecute in the other, flee ye unto another.”
“Ye shall not have gone over (ended or finished round) the cities.”
But what was this traveling all about? Was it for fear, just hiding from the persecutors?
The word “teleshte” used here really means they should not have gone over or through, within this period of the disciples travelling over the cities of Judea before He, Himself, comes.
If this is true then He mustn’t be talking of our days. How long was this statement before Jerusalem was destroyed? We shall see .
1 Chron. 25:8, we are told “And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.”
The word used here is: ”teleiwn kai manyanantwn,” standing for “those who teach and those who are to learn.”
Paul also used this same word, “toiv teleioiv” in 1 Cor. 2:6,
“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought for those who are perfectly instructed in the things of God.”
So a careful look at these passages shows that what Jesus has in mind is that the disciples should not have finished instructing the people about the message of the kingdom, of course, across the cities of Israel before the Son of Man come.
That is, as you teach and you are rejected in one city and try to be arrested, go to another city and keep proclaiming the message.
For you surely will not have gone round all these cities teaching the word before I come.
So it wasn’t just the fear of being persecuted as Christians. That was not the case but the progressive push of the Gospel amidst rejection from the Jews.
But did Jesus mean this, that He will come no sooner to them? How long was this supposed to be? knowing that none of them is still alive?
To be continued…