12. The day of judgment, 24:1-25:46
i] The coming of the birth-pangsSynopsis
The disciples ask Jesus a two pronged eschatological question about the destruction of the temple and so, Jesus runs through the events leading up to his parousia, "coming / presence", his fanerow, "appearing, manifestation". In the passage before us Jesus speaks about the birth-pangs prior to "the desolating sacrilege."
As the end draws near there will be an "increase of lawlessness" before the revealing of the "desolating sacrilege."
i] Context: See 21:1-11, the 5th Narrative - The Coming of the Son of Man. The 5th and final Discourse presents as follows: The disciples ask Jesus a two (three?) pronged question in v3. They want to know about the destruction of the temple and the end of the age, or more particularly, the signs which indicate that these events are about to take place. So, Jesus runs through the events leading up to his parousia "coming / presence", his fanerow "appearing / manifestation." He details the turbulence of everyday life leading up to the great tribulation and the sign of the "desolating sacrilege" which will herald the destruction of Jerusalem / temple in 70AD. What Jesus has to say about this event also serves as a paradigm for the end of the age, indicating that there are layers of fulfillment in Jesus' words, namely:
The tribulation leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD;
The judgment and chastisement of the church culminating in the end of the age.
In v15-33 Jesus details the divine judgment about to befall Jerusalem and its temple. In the day of tribulation, let believers lie low during that moment before the coming of the Son of Man in judgment. This coming will be evident like lightning, it will be sudden like the appearance of vultures on a corps in the desert. In the face of this reality no pretender can pretend. So, read the signs, for the hour is nigh. Jesus then announces that all this will take place in the lifetime of his disciples, v34-35.
Having answered the disciples' question concerning the "when" and the "sign" of Jesus' coming / the end of the age, Matthew draws together Jesus' instructions on how to live awaiting the coming day, 24:36-25:30.
a) Be prepared, 24:36-44. No one knows the exact day of Jesus' coming in judgment. It will be the same as in the days of Noah. People will be caught unawares, so be prepared.
b) Be faithful, 24:45-51. There will be a delay in the coming of Jesus, and when he comes it will be a time when we least expect it. So in the interim, but faithful to the task set by the master.
c) Be watchful, 25:1-13. The danger of a faded faith is real, so keep watching to your faith.
d) Be diligent, 25:14-30. Be warned, it is essential to have a right attitude toward the master.
Finally, in 24:31-46, Matthew concludes the 5th Discourse with Jesus' vision of the supreme court, of the judgment enacted by the Son of Man.
ii] Structure: The coming of the birth-pangs,s:
"there will not be left here one stone upon another
that will not be thrown down."
"when will these things be
and what will be the sign of your coming .....?"
The tribulation, v1-28:
The beginning of the woes, v4-8;
The intensification of the woes, v9-14;
The desolating sacrilege, v15;
The flight, v16-22;
The coming of false messiahs and prophets, v23-28;
The parousia, v29-35.
In the time interval before the end there will be false religious leaders, wars, natural disasters, a falling away of believers, evil times, the spreading of the gospel throughout the world and inevitable persecution. As the end draws near there will be an "increase of lawlessness" before the revealing of the "desolating sacrilege." So, let us work towards this day in the same way as the early Christians did, firm in our faith.
Jesus' eschatological teaching exhibits the features that are common to Biblical prophecy:
a) As represented in the illustrations below, Biblical prophecy has layers of fulfillment. This layered nature of prophecy can best be understood by observing how the kingdom of God has been realized throughout human history. Initially, the kingdom was revealed as a historic entity (the kingdom of Israel), then restated as a prophetic hope, then poorly represented in the restored kingdom of Israel (ending in 70AD), realized / inaugurated as a spiritual reality in Christ (the church), and soon to be complete in the kingdom of heaven. The words of an Old Testament prophet may be fulfilled as a historic reality in the restored kingdom, but his words also apply to the present spiritual kingdom and to the heavenly kingdom. Jesus, in his prophecies, adopts this same layering of prophetic fulfillment. See notes on the Biblical theology of the kingdom of God;
b) When the prophets address the different layers of fulfillment, they often compound them, draw them together, as represented in the illustration below. The Biblical prophets usually direct their words to a particular immediate situation, yet at the same time they see beyond this situation. When interpreting the passage, commentators will argue over whether the words concern the immediate present, or are still to be fulfilled in the future (see The Five Comings of Jesus by D.B. Knox, a very interesting exposition which covers Matthew chapters 24 and 25). In truth, Biblical prophecy brings with it a depth of perspective. It will address the immediate situation, but the immediate situation serves as a paradigm for a future reality which, in the eye of the prophet, is drawn into the present. The prophecies of Jesus are classic examples of this feature. Here in chapter 24, Jesus is speaking about the events leading up to, and including, the destruction of Jerusalem. Yet, his words also push well beyond 70AD to the last days, the great tribulation / Armageddon. In the eyes of the prophet the not yet merges with the now.
c) Peculiar to Christ's prophetic perspective is the time convergence which applies to his parousia, his coming / appearing - a coming which inevitably involves judgment. Christ's coming, his entering the throne room of the Ancient of Days to enact judgment, cf., Daniel 7:13, is, from our perspective, a not yet reality - Christ's coming is still in the future. Yet, at the same time Christ's coming is now. In fact, he has already come. Satan has been defeated on the cross, a victory confirmed by an empty tomb. This now / not yet realization of the kingdom of God in the coming of Christ is difficult to understand. Christ speaks of his ascending on high and his entering into the throne-room of the Ancient of Days, as an imminent reality, of which the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD is a visible paradigm. So, Christ has already come with his saints to the Ancient of Days, he is upon his throne, and we are seated with him - the kingdom is now, realized. Yet, from another perspective, Christ's coming is still in the future for we who are caught up in this moment of divine grace, ie., in our experience the kingdom is not yet, it is inaugurated. The following mouse-over diagram may help!
Apocalyptic - Chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew's gospel addresses the end times, drawing together Jesus' apocalyptic teaching. It parallels other apocalyptic literature in the Bible, namely, Daniel, Zechariah, Revelation. Apocalyptic literature is a popular form of writing used from around 400BC up till the end of the New Testament period. Not all scholars accept that these chapters can rightly be classified as apocalyptic, but there are similarities:
a) Vocabulary, eg. Dan.2:28, 7:27, 11:31, 12:11...
b) Message - It reveals the secrets of the end time and in so doing encourages the faithful child of God to stand firm through the times of trouble.
c) Situation - A word for a time of persecution. Jesus spoke these words in the framework of his Jerusalem ministry which was marked by opposition and the shadow of the cross. It was a word to his disciples who would soon have to bear the brunt of persecution themselves.
It is generally accepted that the majority of Matthew's material in chapter 24 is sourced from Mark, some from Q (a source available to both Matthew and Luke) and some from M (Matthew's own source). Of course, mutual independence is still possible. The material peculiar to Matthew is found in v10-12, 30-31, and is paralleled with the Didache 16:3-6.
vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 24:1
The birth-pangs prior to the desolating sacrilege, v1-14: i] Setting, v1-2. Jesus has just concluded his teaching ministry in the temple, a building he will never ever enter again. As he walks away from this most majestic of buildings, radiant in its brilliant white stone inlaid with gold, he comments to his disciples that it will soon be destroyed; not one stone left upon another.
exelqwn (exercomai) aor. part. "[Jesus] left [the temple]" - [and jesus] having gone out. The NIV treats the participle as attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the imperfect verb "he went"; "left and was walking away." Possibly adverbial, temporal, "when Jesus had come out of the temple precincts", Barclay. Either way, Matthew's account ends Jesus' teaching ministry in the temple such that as he walks away from it for the last time he pronounces God's judgment on it.
eporeueto (poreuomai) imperf. "was walking away" - he went Zerwick suggests that the imperfect is used to express "what was going on when something else happened."
apo + gen. "-" - from [the temple]. Expressing separation, "away from" although we would expect ek, "out of".
epideixai (epideiknumi) aor. inf. "to call [his] attention to" - [and the disciples of him approached] to show. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "so as to draw his attention to", Cassirer.
autw/ dat. pro. "his" - to him. Dative of indirect object / interest.
tou iJerou (oV) gen. "its [buildings]" - [the buildings] of the temple. The genitive is adjectival, partitive, or possessive, "the buildings that belong to / make up the temple." Matthew generalizes the disciples' prompt to Jesus, possibly "to look at the temple buildings", Barclay. Both Mark and Luke make note of the "great stones" used in the building. Possibly here the beauty and wonder of the building, its white limestone overlaid with gold, which "radiated so fiery a flash that persons straining to look at it were compelled to avert their eyes", Josephus, War.
de "-" - but/and. Indicating a step in the discourse.
ou blepete (blepw) pres. "do you see" - This negated construction in a question calls for a positive answer. "Are you not taken by the impressive temple architecture?"
apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "he asked" - [he] having answered [said]. Attendant circumstance participle, virtually redundant - a Semitism.
autoiV dat. pro. "-" - to them [do you not see all these things]? Dative of indirect object.
amhn legw uJmin "I tell you the truth" - truly i say to you. A phrase that serves to underline what follows.
ou mh + subj. "not one [stone will be left]" - no not = by no means [may be left / allowed, permitted]. Subjunctive of emphatic negation.
epi + acc. "[one stone .... left] on [another]" - [a stone] upon [a stone]. Spacial. Describing total destruction. It is thought that the fire started in the temple by the defenders of Jerusalem during the revolt against Rome caused the gold decorations to melt and so, to get at the gold, the building was later demolished to its foundations. This may be the case, although sound masonry was always pillaged from partly destroyed buildings, given the effort required to quarry anew. Mounce notes that if Matthew was writing after the event he would have mentioned the burning of the temple, "vaticinium ex eventu, prophecy after the event."
ou kataluqhsetai (kataluw) fut. pas. "will be thrown down" - [which] will not be destroyed, demolished, pulled down, thrown down. "Utterly demolished", Barclay.
ii] The disciples' question, v3. Mark's record of the question, "the sign when all these things are about to come to pass", is expanded by Matthew. Following on from "when will this happen", Matthew adds a second two-part question, "what will be the sign of your coming and [what will be the sign] of the end of the age?" It is unclear whether the two parts form two separate questions or a single unified question. The connective kai, "and", indicates that the two parts probably form a single whole such that both the "coming" and the "end of the age" are integrally linked and are heralded by a single sign, namely "the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place", a sign of divine judgment. It does seem likely that the disciples viewed Christ's "coming" as his coming in judgment upon Jerusalem and the temple, and that this act of judgment was associated with the end of the age / the world, the consummation of all things. If the disciples did not make this connection, Matthew certainly does; "Christ's coming in judgment on Jerusalem is for Matthew, a type of Jesus' coming at the end of the age", Stein.
kaqhmenou (kaqhmai) gen. pres. part. "as [Jesus was sitting]" - [he] was sitting. Genitive absolute participle, usually serving to form a temporal clause, as NIV.
twn elaiwn (a) gen. "[the Mount] of Olives" - [on the hill] of olives. The genitive, "of olives", is adjectival, idiomatic / of identification, limiting "the hill"; "the hill called / known as Olives." Jesus is seated in the accustomed teaching position, obviously in view of the temple, when asked by his disciple to explain his comment regarding its destruction.
autw/ dat. pro. "[came to] him" - [and the disciples came] to him. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to come to.
kat idian "privately" - according to one's own = privately. Discussion about the destruction of the temple could not be undertaken in public since it would promote a violent response.
legonteV (legw) pres. part. "they said" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, "came ... and said", or adverbial, modal, expressing manner, "came saying ...."
hJmin dat. pro. "[tell] us" - [say] to us. Dative of indirect object.
pote "when [will this happen]" - when [will be these things]. It is unlikely that the disciples have asked for a date since the connective kai, "and what will be the sign of your coming", is likely to be epexegetic, giving the sense "what will be the sign when you come [in judgment]?"; "when will this happen", CEV. Luke better expresses the sense of the question, Lk.21:7.
to shmeion (on) "the sign" - [and what is] the sign, miracle. Nominative subject of the assumed verb to-be. Obviously in the sense of "the sign that heralds", which sign Jesus later defines as "the desolating abomination", Daniel 9:27, cf. v15.
thV ... parousiaV (a) gen. "of [your] coming" - your appearing, coming, arrival, presence. The genitive is adjectival, objective, or idiomatic / temporal; "the sign when you will come." Of all the gospels, only Matthew uses this word, but it is taken up in the epistles. This "presence" of Christ refers to his coming in judgment. There have been many such comings, acts of divine judgment, but obviously the disciples have in mind Christ's coming in judgment upon Israel / Jerusalem / the temple, which judgment was enacted in 70AD. Yet, at the same time, as Stein notes, Matthew is linking Christ's coming upon Jerusalem with his coming / appearing in the last day. To further confuse matters, it is important to note that Christ's final appearing / coming, is not a coming to earth, but a coming to the Ancient of Days in heaven for enthronement and the enacting of judgment on all flesh in heaven and earth, cf. Daniel 7:13.
kai "and" - Possibly epexegetic, "the sign of your coming, namely / ie., the end of the age."
sunteleiaV (a) gen. "of the end [of the age]" - of consummation, end [of age]. The genitive as for "appearing / coming"; "the sign when the age will come to an end" = "your coming", see above. This phrase is used six times in the NT, five times in Matthew. It refers to "final judgment and the consummation of all things", Carson.
iii] "The beginning of the birth pangs" - false messiahs and wars and rumors of wars, v4-8. The prophecy refers to messianic contenders leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, and false teachers / prophets in our age leading up to the last day. Similarly for "wars and rumors of wars", referring to the state of affairs leading up to 70AD, and similarly the state of affairs leading up to the end of the age. These events do not herald the end, but they do remind us that the end is inevitable. So, we are to take heed, but not be panic-stricken.
apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "[Jesus] answered" - [and jesus] answering [said]. As for v2, attendant circumstance participle, redundant - a Semitism, "answered and said"; "in response he said to them."
autoiV dat. pro. "-" - to them. Dative of indirect object.
mh ... planhsh/ (planaw) aor. subj. "[watch out] that no [one] deceives [you]" - [see to it, beware], not [certain one] deceives, leads astray [you]. Technically this verb could be classified as a subjunctive of prohibition, although following a cognitive verb of warning or fear, here "watch out", it forms a dependent statement of perception expressing what to watch out for, as NIV; "watch out that no one makes a fool of you."
gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why the disciples need to take care.
polloi adj. "many" - The adjective serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb "to come"; so "many men (people) will come in my name", Phillips.
epi + dat. "in [my name]" - [will come] under [the name of me]. Here the preposition expresses ground / base, "on the basis of / on the ground of", here of authority; "many will come claiming that they are under my authority." The term is most often used of genuine emissaries of Jesus. It is possible that here they claim the status of messiah; "they claim to be messiah, Christ himself", Carson.
legonteV (legw) pres. part. "claiming" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, "come and say", or adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their coming, "will come saying."
egw pro. "I am the Christ" - Emphatic by position and use. Morris suggests that given the form of words here, they are claiming something more than the status of messiah, of being a divine emissary; they are claiming deity for themselves - the status of God himself. Such certainly aligns with the evidence of history.
planhsousin (planaw) fut. "[and] will deceive [many]" - In these days before the end there will be many claimants for our devotion, from things to people; "they will lead many astray", Cassirer.
akouein (akouw) pres. inf. "[you] will hear" - [but/and you are about] to hear. The infinitive is complementary, completing the verb "you are about." The construction expresses an imminent encounter in the future, so not just "you will hear", but "you will soon hear", although the stress is on certainty, so "you are going to hear", Rieu.
polemouV (oV) acc. "of wars" - Accusative of reference.
pelemwn (oV) gen. "[rumors] of wars" - The genitive is usually treated as adjectival, verbal, objective; "rumors concerning / about wars." That they will "hear" of these things is not a promise that they will not be involved in them.
mh qroeisqe (qroew) pres. pas. imp. "[see to it] that you are not alarmed" - [beware], you are not frightened, alarmed, troubled, startled. It is likely that the negated imperative, here following a cognitive verb of warning, is functioning in the same way as the negated subjunctive in v4, so forming an object clause / dependent statement of perception, as NIV. Yet, to retain the force of the construction, the two imperatives may better be translated as a pair: "watch out, don't be startled." The verb "alarmed" is surely not intended to take the sense "frightened", but more in the sense of thrown off course by an unexpected circumstance. So, "don't get into a panic", Barclay. "Take heed, be not panic-stricken", Torrey.
gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why a disciple should not be panic-stricken.
dei "such things must" - it is necessary. Often expressing divine necessity.
genesqai (ginomai) aor. inf. "happen" - to become, happen. The infinitive functions as a substantive, subject of the verb "is necessary"; "because to happen is necessary"; "these things will have to happen first", CEV.
alla "but" - but. Strong adversative.
to teloV (oV ouV) "the end" - the end [is not yet]. This "end", in the prophetic perspective of Jesus, is the end of Jerusalem/temple and the end of the age. The period leading up to 70AD was one of Roman expansionism involving ongoing military actions. Our era, leading up to the day of judgment is similarly marked by "wars and rumors of wars." Given the growth of human population and the need for energy security, food resources and fresh water, there is little likelihood that we will experience a lessening of violence in our age.
gar "-" - for. More reason than cause, explanatory, expanding on v6; "for nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom", Rieu.
egerqhsetai (egeirw) fut. pas. "will rise against" - [nation] will be raised up. Often viewed as a divine passive.
epi + acc. "against" - against [nation, and kingdom against kingdom]. Here expressing opposition, so "up to / against."
kata + acc. "in various [places]" - [and there will be famines and earthquakes] according to [place]. Here distributive, "indicating the division of a greater whole into individual parts", BAGD, as NIV; "in place after place." Famines in the first century, in fact during much of human history, were a regular occurrence, and earthquakes were common along the rift valley, as they are today.
de "-" - but/and. Indicating a step in the discourse.
panta .. tauta "all these are" - all these things are. Nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be. "The totality of the tumult and troubles", Morris.
arch (h) "the beginning" - Predicate nominative. "Only a beginning", Zerwick.
wdinwn (in inoV) gen. "of birth pains" - of birth pangs. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. The coming of messiah and the dawning of the new age of the kingdom involves tribulation, agony, well illustrated by the pain of childbirth. In this Jesus reflects the views of the Old Testament prophets, Isa.13:8, 26:17, Jer.4:311, 6:24, Mic.4:9-10. Yet, such events do not necessarily herald the last day since they are "only the beginning" of the birth pains, the "first birth-pangs of the new age", REB. "The end is still to come", so "don't be panic-stricken", v6.
iv] Jesus continues describing the state of affairs that will be experienced by God's people leading up to the end of the age, v9-14. This is not the actual sign of the end of the age, but rather the normal state of affairs leading up to the end of the age. There is some indication in scripture that the tumult and troubles / tribulations, particularly in the persecution of God's people, will increase as the day draws near, cf. v12, and this culminating in "the desolating sacrilege", v15. Yet, it is not possible to develop a time-line by the study of these events since only the desolating sacrilege evidences the end. Jesus lists the woes: a) persecution, v9-10.
tote "then" - Temporal adverb. Here not establishing a sequence of events and so possibly best left untranslated, or something like "in those days / at that time." "Those are the days when they will have you put to torture", Rieu.
qliyin (iV ewV) "[to be] persecuted" - [they will hand over you to] trouble, tribulation, distress / suffering, persecution. This "tribulation" is obviously persecution, a persecution kai (ascensive) "even" to death.
esesqe misoumenoi (misew) pres. pas. part. "you will be hated" - [and they will kill you and] you will be hated. A periphrastic future construction formed by the future tense of the verb to-be + the present participle. Possibly used to emphasize durative aspect; an ongoing hatred.
uJpo + gen. "by [all nations]" - Instrumental; expressing agency. Probably in the sense of "you will be hated in every country", Barclay. An allusion to the church's mission to the Gentiles.
dia + acc. "because" - because of, on account of. Causal.
to onoma (a) "[of me]" - the name [of me]. Again "the name" identifies the person and his authority; "because of your association with me / because you are under my authority."
"Persecution from without leads to treachery inside the church", Gundry.
tote "at that time" - [and] then. Temporal adverb. The NIV has purposely avoided a translation which could express a temporal sequence, eg. "and after that." Nolland suggests "logical sequence", "and as a result."
skandalisqhsontai (skandalizw) fut. pas. "will turn away from the faith" - [many] will be caused to stumble, led away from, be entrapped, sin. Here with the sense "falling away", Olmstead. "At that time the faith of many will collapse", Barclay.
paradwsousin (paradidwmi) fut. "will betray" - [and others] they will deliver over [and they will hate others]. "Fellow Christians .. will be the instrument of betrayal to hostile authorities", Nolland.
b) The emergence of false prophets, v11.
yeudoprofhtai (hV ou) "false prophets" - [and many] false prophets [will arise and they will deceive many]. They "deceive", lead God's people astray, so teacher / prophet is surely in view, but possibly "false Christian leaders", D&A, cf. 7:15-23.
c) There will be an increase of iniquity with the result that "in the church there will be a massive falling away", Luz, v12.
dia to plhqunqhnai (plhqunw) aor. pas. inf. "because of the increase of" - because of the increased. This construction, the preposition dia + the articular infinitive, usually forms a causal clause, as NIV.
thn anomian (a) "wickedness" - lawlessness. Accusative subject of the infinitive. The "lawlessness" is most likely referring to the wider situation in secular society and is describing the buildup to the eschatological climax of the desolating sacrilege, as above, cf. Dn.12:4, LXX, "the land will be filled with lawlessness."
twn pollwn gen. adj. "[the love] of most" - [the love] of many. The adjective serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, usually treated as verbal, subjective, or, possessive. Brown's suggested objective genitive is a bit left-field; "the love shown to many." As Olmstead notes, "many" may be "most."
yughsetai (yucw) fut. "will grow cold" - will become cold. Possibly within society at large, although more likely the church; "the pressure of lawlessness all around undercuts people in their Christian lives, and the radical love for God and neighbor which they learned from Jesus fades away to nothing", Nolland. It is reasonable to assume that this love is for both God and neighbor, although the context implies it amounts to loyalty to Jesus, dia to onoma mou, "because of my name": "because of your connection with me", Barclay; "because of your allegiance to the cause that bears my name", Cassirer. So, it is more likely love of Christ = faith in Christ. The NIV "will turn away from [the] faith", v10, for skandalisqhsontai, "will be made to stumble", reflects the contextual sense of the passage.
d) Salvation through endurance, v13. Only those who stand firm in their faith, those with their eyes set upon Jesus, only they will be carried through the tribulation to the new age of God's kingdom.
de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point.
o .. uJpomeinaV (uJpomenw) aor. part. "he who stands firm" - [but/and] the one enduring, remaining, holding out, continuing, bearing up [to the end]. The participle serves as a substantive. Obviously, these are the ones whose love does not grow cold = whose faith in Christ remains firm. cf. Dan12:12, makarioV oJ uJpomenwn.
eiV "to [the end]" - to, into [end]. "To the end of the age"; as noted above, it includes "the end of Jerusalem" and "the end of the world." It is unlikely that the phrase means "for as long as it takes", France.
ou|toV "-" - this one. This pronoun is resumptive, picking up again from the pendent nominative oJ uJpomeinaV "the one enduring."
swqhsetai (swzw) fut. pas. "will be saved" - will be saved, rescued, delivered. Not necessarily rescued from the tribulation, but brought through it to the consummation of the new age of the kingdom, - "all who are left will be saved", 2Esd.6:25. This salvation does not rest on endurance as such, but on the endurance of saving faith - reliance on the faithfulness of Christ, cf. 10:22. In this circumstance "only a remnant remains faithful", D&A. Carson argues for a corporate sense in reference to the faithful remnant who stand firm to the end. Still, in the perspective of the prophet such subtitles are unnecessary, for the kingdom is imminent, now, at hand - Keep awake! It's five minutes to midnight. As already noted, the way to best handle the now / not yet, inaugurated / realized dichotomy of the kingdom, is to view the interim as an act of divine grace, a divine moment of reprieve for a race destined for destruction.
e) The universal preaching of the gospel, v14. In the meantime, the task of the church is to announce to indulgent humanity that God's patience is at an end. This verse is peculiar to Matthew, although reflecting Mark 13:10.
touto "this" - [and] this. Backward referencing such that the gospel is evident in what is said up to this point, probably summarized by a statement like "the kingdom is at hand", the day of judgment / end is upon humanity - good news for those who persevere in faith, bad news for the rest.
to euaggelion (on) "gospel" - important message. Nominative subject of the verb "to proclaim." The word is used in the NT for the important message from God concerning his coming kingdom.
thV basileiaV (a) gen. "of the kingdom" - The genitive is adjectival, usually classified as verbal, objective, "the gospel about / concerning the kingdom of heaven/God", although idiomatic / content, even epexegetic, "the important news, namely the kingdom of God is at hand, will be preached ....."
khrucqhsetai (khrussw) fut. pas. "will be preached" - God's gospel / important message is communicated - publicly and formerly announced. In another age it was "preached", but today an important message is communicated by print and electronic media.
en "in [the whole world]" - in [all the world]. Local, expressing space/sphere; "throughout the whole world".
eiV "as" - to, into. Here probably expressing purpose; "for / so as to be a testimony".
marturion (on) "a testimony" - The word is used of a testimony / witness about something or someone. Probably not so much as a testimony of what God has done in Christ, so Morris, but what he intends to do in Christ. The gospel, which concerns the coming kingdom, will be communicated throughout the world as a testimony to all people of his intentions for the human race.
pasin toiV eqnesin dat. "to all the nations" - Dative of interest, advantage, "for ...."; "to everyone on earth", Junkins.
tote "then" - [and] then [will come the end]. Here again this temporal adverb causes some difficulty. This time the NIV translates it as if establishing a sequence, and yet on the other occasions in this passage it is not sequential. Barclay opts for a sequential adverb, "after that the end will come", but is this Matthew's intention? Some have taken tote literally to mean that only when the gospel is made known to every tribe and language, only then will the end come (although it should be noted that from the perspective of Acts, Paul fulfilled this requirement when he ended up in Rome - the evil intent of human beings does not interfere with the sovereign will of God). None-the-less, it is worth noting the similar language of Mark 10:23, language which is not essentially different to what Matthew is saying here and elsewhere in this passage, ie., "at that time the end will come" - during, rather than at the end of.