Add new comment

A brief response to your reply, for which again thanks.

The Son of Man will come before some of those standing here taste death

I take your point that “observation doesn’t broaden the scope of the judgment very much.” However, Jesus is talking to Jews within Israel, so it seems natural that he should speak about their future in particular. The overriding point is that he expected an imminent fulfilment of his words, associated with the ”the son of man coming in his kingdom”. Stark argues that Jesus was wrong in predicting this event to occur in the time-frame given. If he was not wrong, then the temple destruction becomes the main visible focus of the fulfilment, as argued by Wright and in a slightly different way by yourself. It’s difficult to see how this can be a direct fulfilment of Jesus’s words here.

The darkening of the heavens

I think Stark is using the darkening of the heavens in other OT prophecies to show that the language accompanied the downfall of great powers, which were traditionally Israel’s enemies, and certainly represented enmity in their worship of false gods. In the same way, the darkening of the heavens in the Isaiah passages, Isaiah 13:10 in particular, shows the coming defeat of the great power, he argues, in the Matthew 24 prediction — in this case Rome. Further allusions (Mattathias and his brothers fleeing to the mountains to regroup) suggest this will take place in Israel.

But don’t worry — I’m not buying this! It goes far beyond anything said in Matthew 24 — or Acts 2:17-21.

The coming of the Son of man

There certainly was a tradition of a warrior messiah in the Intertestamental Writings, and an interpretation of Daniel’s son of man in this way. It’s probably with this tradition in the background that Stark assumes the idea of a warrior messiah, but he doesn’t pursue the sources.

Point 1. 

Doesn’t the existence of another prophet predicting the destruction of the temple diminish the uniqueness of Jesus’s prophecy on which the fulfilment of the “coming of the son of man” is said to rest? The temple destruction is the only visible evidence provided for “coming of the son of man” fulfilment, according to the arguments, and as far as I can see.

Point 2.

In the Matthew/Mark predictions, there is a sequence of events. Stark argues that the destruction of the temple takes place before “the coming of the son of man”. This is central to his criticism of Wright. The time-break is taken from “Immediately after” — Matthew 24:29, and “in those days, following that distress” — Mark 13:14.  

Point 3.

I was just pointing out that the difference in the object of “mourning” in the Zechariah and Matthew prophecies suggests that they are not connected. and the one doesn’t reinforce the other. 

Is this a metaphor I see before me?

“The point is not redundant. I resolve Stark’s ambivalence.” - Could you explain how you have done this?

“I don’t know what you are referring to: “A good reason to take the coming of the Son of Man more literally is that Daniel’s vision led some to think that it was or would be a literal occurrence.” ” — This refers again to the belief of some in the Intertestamental Writings in a warrior messiah in the Daniel 7:13-14 prophecy.

Judgment of sheep and goats — again, the scenario for fulfilment you describe does not fit historical events, unless you mean 300 years later. The criteria for reward/punishment are those if Jesus had been expecting an imminent “coming of the son of man”/final judgment. Both are conflated in the parable/prophecy. So there is an alternative to the argument for a prediction whose only visible sign was the destruction of the temple — which is problematic. The alternative also means that Jesus got the timing wrong. His apocalyptic mindset, which he shared with his contemporaries (or at least may of them), limited his field of vision. This is how I understand Stark.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.