Featured Items Ritchie Christian Media

Question Box

What is the sign referred to by the Lord in Matthew 24.30?

In the parallel Gospels of Mark and Luke no mention is made of the sign, but attention is instead focused on Christ's Person. It seems fitting that Matthew, the dispensational Gospel writer, should include a reference to it in the context of the prophetic discourse recorded in his Gospel. I think that "the sign of the Son of man" is not equivalent to "the Son of man", but that it is rather some visible sign within the region of the atmosphere in the clouds of heaven, indicating the near approach or appearing of the Lord. Some think that the sign is that of the cross, while others think it will be a special star like the one that appeared in the east (Mt 2.9). Again, some consider it to be a reference to the retinue of the saints that will be with the Lord when He descends to the earth, whilst others suppose it to be the Son of man Himself. All these applications have been made concerning the sign, but none of them seem to fit the context.

I suggest that the sign in Matthew 24.30 is the appearance of the Shekinah glory; that fiery radiance which has ever been the symbol of deity from the beginning, and which will be seen just before the second advent of Christ. It will be especially a sign to the Jews, who through all their history have required a sign. Ezekiel saw this glory: a cloud descended from between the cherubim (Ezek 9.3), paused at the door (10.4), removed to a neighbouring mountain top (11.23), and finally disappeared (v 24). He was told of its return, however, and predicted its reappearing in the east. I believe that Ezekiel 43 is a definite prophecy of the second advent of Christ. The transfiguration of the Lord was a pledge of His coming in power and glory; then "a bright cloud overshadowed" Peter and James and John (Mt 17.5). A cloud, not clouds, received the Lord Jesus at His ascension (Acts 1.9), and God manifested His presence by a glory-cloud at the dedication of the temple (2 Chr 5.13). This cloud was a symbol of the Lord's presence, though apart from Himself. The constant reference to a cloud in connection with the divine presence is at least remarkable, even if it be not "the sign of the Son of man".

John J Stubbs

When was the day that is referred to in the expression "Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee" (Heb 5.5)?

When Jehovah said these words to His Son is not definitely stated, and what the words "to-day" imply is not made clear. However, no explanation will meet the requirements of the contexts in the New Testament where Psalm 2.7 is cited (Acts 13.33; Heb 1.5, 5.5), nor indeed the context of Psalm 2.7 itself, except one which accepts that the decree and its declaration were made in eternity, but were only made manifest in time.

Hebrews 1.5 reads "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?" (The latter quotation is cited from 2 Samuel 7.14.) The essential meaning is made clear by comparing these two statements, for they emphasise a unique relationship, but do not refer to the inception of that relationship.

As to the quotation in Acts 13.33, "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee", it must be taken in conjunction with verse 23 of the same chapter; "God ... raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus". The reference is not to His birth, nor indeed to His resurrection, but to His being raised to public service and ministry among the people. Verse 34 of the chapter seems to make it clear that the reference here is not to His resurrection; "And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead [introducing the contrast], now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David."

If in Acts 13.33 Christ is raised up as a Saviour, in Hebrews 1.5 He is raised up as a Prophet, for although "God ... spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets", He "hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son [or 'in Son']" (Heb 1.1-2). According to Hebrews 5.5, He is raised up as high priest: "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee." Finally, in Psalm 2.6-7 He is raised up as King: "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion."

David E West


Back issues are provided here as a free resource. To support production and to receive current editions of Believer's Magazine, please subscribe...

Print Edition

Digital Edition

Copyright © 2017 John Ritchie Ltd. Home